Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sanatana Dogma

A Sanatana Dogmatist is someone who holds any of the following beliefs:

1. Belief that their belief is not based on faith, but based on the Ultimate Truth.

Sanatana Dogmatists are quick to laugh at Christianity or Islam because those are faith based. But the dogmatists are oblivious to the irony of having a belief that the Vedas have been revealed to humans and hence are perfect and infallible. They just know that it is true. In short it is a faith based belief.

2. Belief that atheism too is accepted in their Sanatana Dogma.

The dogmatists are ignorant of naturalism (both methodological and metaphysical) which underlies today’s atheism. Naturalism doesn’t invoke the supernatural to explain things. Sanatana Dogma does. But the dogmatists in their fervor of supremacy have to make everything inclusive in their dogma. Even if it results in contradictions.

3. Belief that morality has an objective existence and that it is eternal.

Morality depends on the existence of human minds. The Universe by itself doesn’t care about morality. For example, you can’t impose any morality on the Sun. It just can’t give a damn.

But these dogmatists not only claim that morality exists independently of humans, but also that it has been existing eternally. They also perform the intellectually dishonest feat of conflating properties of the Universe like gravity and electromagnetism with their dogma. When you press them for details as to where in their dogmatic revelations will one find these properties of the Universe, they either peddle pseudoscience or weasel their way by saying only enlightened people can know it. And who is considered as enlightened? Somebody who gives up reason and give themselves into dogma. It’s a circle jerk of circular reasoning.

4. Belief that the Varna system is good.

This belief entails high grade weaseling. Apparently human capabilities and behavior can be neatly pigeon holed into four types. And even more apparently such pigeon holing isn’t determined by birth but by how one behaves. So what are the rules of behavior? That which are set in their dogmatic revelations. For example, a Brahmin plying a rickshaw is a bad thing, as the dogmatic revelations are ignorant of the concept of dignity of labor.

The dogma is also ignorant of technological revolution which makes many of the requisite behaviors irrelevant in today’s world. An example is the rote memorization of dogmatic revelations by the those of the purest varna. When the eternal dogma was “revealed”, the people of that time did not have a cheap and reliable means of storing and transmitting information. So they resorted to rote memorization aided by some neat techniques. But such memorization is not needed today. Hence we also do not need a varna to keep doing such pointless tasks. But dogma by definition involves beliefs that are unrealistic and unreasonable. So a Sanatana Dogmatist will insist that such a varna is needed.

But what about the dogmatist’s sacred chant “Oh, Varna is based on quality, not by birth”? What qualities a person has depends to a great extent on their surroundings. So someone born to parents of low varna, will likely remain there unless they are exposed to a different surrounding. The dogmatists bemoan that anyone can acquire qualities to acquire high varna status, but they provide no means for people to acquire those qualities. To use some present day societies as an example, all the children there get the same education regardless of their social standing. Did the dogmatists do something like that in the past? No. Technology too levels the playing field. One can acquire a good range of skills via the Internet without going through a formal education system.

5. Belief in Karma.

The dogmatists believe that what you are today is determined by your past deeds. So if you born into a lofty varna, pat yourself for the good deeds you did in your previous life. If you born into a lowly varna, it is because you did bad deeds in your previous life. Righteously suffer for it and your karma score will go up. Likewise natural disasters happen when there is too much bad karma around. These dogmatists are so arrogant and dripping in vanity that they think their actions have any effect on things like earthquakes. Also, karma is another faith based belief that dogmatists have despite the proclamations that their dogma is not based on cheap faith that Christianity and Islam rely on.

6. Belief in a decaying world.

Dogmatists think that we are living in the age of bad karma. The age where for the first time people dared to proclaim something like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, gender equality and respect for a person’s private life. They think that the world is being attacked by corrupting ideas.

So what is the nature of those corrupting ideas? As we saw in point 4, ideas like dignity of labor are corrupting. How dare someone suggest that performing lowly physical work has dignity? And how dare they suggest that one do their own work - clean their houses, toilets, surroundings by themselves. The eternal dogma dictates that people with neatly demarcated pigeon holed capacities exist. So it is the duty of the people belong to the lowest varna to do tasks like physical labor and cleaning dirt. The highest varna's duty is to not do such tasks.

42 comments:

ephemeral said...

You are a big idiot.Hinduism is not dogmatic about any of its philosophies.On the contrary you can also be atheist and be hindu.Just search google,wiki about hindu atheism.The people living west of indus have been referred to as hindus just like Indians(by greeks) and their culture traditons religions and philosophy is bunched together as hinduism.

ephemeral said...

correction:line 4 - east

Lije said...

@ephemeral,

I see that you can't read properly. Go through the article word by word and find where I used the word "Hinduism".

ephemeral said...

@lije I know but most of your posts are about hiniduism be it this one(santana dharma) or vedas,gita etc...ain't it.You can always criticize philosophy because it ain't science.But you also have to realize hinduism is nothing like abrahamic religions which are founded at one go(by prophets) and have a central doctrine.Hinduism is continuously developing because it ain't a religion and probably most hindus will be ahtiests in 50 years because its not hard for them to reconcile with atheism as it is for the followers of abrahamic religions.Indians have always questioned their own beliefs.It has the largest classical literature in atheism (sankrit and pali)

Lije said...

Your definition of Hinduism is not what I accept. The definition of Hinduism I use on this site actually describes the majority of people who identify as Hindus. Apologists like you ignore that and flaunt a minority position as if that is the definitive meaning that has been agreed by all and is self evidently true.

But I'll entertain your apologist antiques, not because you are capable of having a meaningful discussion, but because I can point future apologists of your kind to this comment.

Lets take a word ooga-booga-wooga. It is defined to mean all the philosophical works created in the language English. So using that definition,

1. The King James Bible is part of ooga-booga-wooga.
2. Naturalistic philosophies written by people like Dan Dennett are part of ooga-booga-wooga.
3. A person who espouses the King James Bible is a ooga-booga-wooga-ist.
4. A person can espouse naturalism is also a ooga-booga-wooga-ist.
5. Any person who criticizes the King James Bible is by definition arguing against the entire corpus of philosophical literature written in English.
6. People who espouse this definition of ooga-booga-wooga go around calling anyone who dare criticize the King James Bible as idiots. They just can't help it.

In short, people like you define Hinduism in a broad way so that you can dance around any criticism. You are the sort who exemplify the No True Scotsman fallacy.

However, I will give you one concession. Since you think most Hindus will be atheists in 50 years, could you build a time machine and go forward 50 years and bring back demographics of Hindus from that time? Because I'm just stuck here in 2011 where a majority of people who call themselves Hindus believe in prayer, rituals, superstitions, and the supernatural, you know the sort of stuff an atheist wouldn't indulge in. And to ease your equivocating tendencies, read the three links (which I'm quite sure you haven't) that I gave under point 2 in this article. That is what a majority of atheists in the world espouse.

Also, this.

And finally,

You can always criticize philosophy because it ain't science.

Shows how ignorant you are about the relationship between philosophy and science.

epehmeral said...

Your definition of Hinduism is not what I accept. The definition of Hinduism I use on this site actually describes the majority of people who identify as Hindus--------------------
Its your whim to accept a defintion which you prescribe.Currently there is not accepted definition of Hinduism.Since Hinduism is scholarly term.
Jawaharlal Nehru
"Hinduism, as a faith, is vague, amorphous, many-sided, all things to all men. It is hardly possible to define it, or indeed to say definitely whether it is a religion or not, in the usual sense of the word. In its present form, and even in the past, it embraces many beliefs and practices, from the highest to the lowest, often opposed to or contradicting each other."
[Discovery of India,pg71,published edition 2004,I have this book I cross-checked,I can send you a scan if you want]

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: " Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors. The sanctity and infallibility of the Vedas, Smritis and the Dharmashastras, the iron law of caste, the heartless law of karma and the senseless law of status by birth are to the Untouchables veritable instruments of torture which Hinduism has forged against Untouchables…:

The Enclyopedia Britannica states: " Hinduism is both a civilisation and a congregation of religions; it has neither a beginning nor a central authority, hierarchy or organisation. Every attempt at a specific definition of Hinduism has proved to be unsatisfactory." E.B. 20, pp. 519-520.

Encyclopedia britannica online edition(http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/266312/Hinduism)
"Hinduism, major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy, belief, and ritual. Although the name Hinduism is relatively new, having been coined by British writers in the first decades of the 19th century, it refers to a rich cumulative tradition of texts and practices, some of which date to the 2nd millennium bce or possibly earlier."
S.Radhakrishnan
There has been no such thing as a uniform, stationary, unalterable Hinduism whether in point of belief or practice. Hinduism is a movement, not a position; a process, not a result; a growing tradition, not a fixed revelation. Its past history encourages us to believe that it will be found equal to any emergency that the future may throw up, whether in the field of thought or of history.

ephemeral said...

Klaus K.Klostermaier
"The term "Hinduism" has recently been problematized in western scholarly literature. "Hindutva." the Indian-languages equivalent, identified with a cultural political program promoted by right-wing Hindu political parties and extremist Hindu organizatins, is viewed with suspicion and apprehension by many non-Hindus. Some question the appropriateness of the very word "Hinduism," which, they say, is an "orientalist construct" invented by western colonial interest. All agree that the term "Hindu" was imposed on the Indians by outsiders. However, the designation "Hindu" has meanwhile been adopted by Indians themselves, who identify their religion as "Hinduism" over against Islam or Christianity. Others deny the historic validity to the very notion of "Hinduism" prior nineteenth century "Neo Hinduism," which arose as a reaction to Christianity, the religion of the foreign colonizers." (From Hinduism, A Short History]
B.G Tilak
Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshipped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of the Hindu religion"
http://books.google.com/books?id=FCsllHDE1qgC&pg=PA280&dq=B.G.Tilak+hinduism+definition&hl=en&ei=VUJmTtCODYjirAf82_mMCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=B.G.Tilak%20hinduism%20definition&f=false

Gavin Flood
"Because of the wide range of tradtions and ideas incorporated by the term "Hindu" it is a problem arriving at a definition..."
http://books.google.com/books?id=npCKSUUQYEIC&pg=PA2&dq=Monier+Monier-Williams+hinduism+definition&hl=en&ei=QUNmTsT_N8W8rAe37fiBCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CEIQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=Monier%20Monier-Williams%20hinduism%20definition&f=false

ephemeral said...

(If a link is not working report its not intentional).There are a lot more if you want i can post more.

So you see there is no one definition and thats why i used that definition in first post
Now if you still have a different definition then give a proof (or logical reason) why all other defintions are wrong and your's is correct

Lije said...

@ephemeral,

I guess you still have some difficulty reading. I said "..where a majority of people who call themselves Hindus believe in prayer, rituals, superstitions, and the supernatural, you know the sort of stuff an atheist wouldn't indulge in."

That is good enough definition to criticize the large of stupid beliefs that go under the name "Hinduism".

If you want to ask what "proof" I have for correctness/wrongness of definitions, you are pissing on the wrong tree. I don't like to play semantic games.

What I can do however, is replace the word with the substance. In all the moaning you have done so far, not a squeak is actually about the substance of my articles. I can replace the word "Hindus" with "people who have a non-naturalistic worldview, people who believe in scriptural authority etc..", and the points I make remain just as valid.

ephemeral said...

"Because I'm just stuck here in 2011 where a majority of people who call themselves Hindus"-----------------
In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for "appeal to the people") is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it; it alleges: "If many believe so, it is so.
i know some too :)

ephemeral said...

"Shows how ignorant you are about the relationship between philosophy and science."---------------yeah you are right it was naive statement to make but by science i actually meant you can prove 1+1 =2 by formal logic http://tachyos.org/godel/1+1=2.html ,and by philosophy i meant nihilism,macheievelism etc.But yeah an ignorant incorrect statement nonetheless

Lije said...

@ephemeral,

i know some too :)

So you got nothing else to say that you had to pick on that non-fallacy? Let me show how pathetic your grasp of logic is.

I will be using your definition - "In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for "appeal to the people") is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it; it alleges: "If many believe so, it is so."

The proposition in question is: Hinduism is what a certain large set of people believe in where the beliefs in question are "prayer, rituals, superstitions, and the supernatural".

Did I assert that the proposition is true? No. That definitions can be disputed should be abundantly clear to anyone who

1. Is capable of reading English
2. has read my previous comment
3. knows what a hyperlink is
4. knows how to open a hyperlink and put the skill mentioned in point 1 to good use.

Where does the question of committing a fallacy arise when going by the very definition you gave, I did not conclude the proposition in question as true.

ephemeral said...

Actually I made some more posts but were not updated
" but because I can point future apologists of your kind". I am not a hindu apologist.Heck hindus practices evils like sati. You can criticize as much you want about Hinduism my only concern was from all your posts it was clear you were not aware of the contentious definition of hinduism.Even in the nirmukta article the author is arguinng not that if the hindu atheism is valid(yes it is) but if its detrimental to indian culture and heritage(is debatable again).

ephemeral said...

@Lije Did I assert that the proposition is true? ---------------------yes you did moron.
"The definition of Hinduism I use on this site actually describes the majority of people who identify as Hindu" then you said "majority of people who call themselves Hindus believe in prayer, rituals, superstitions, and the supernatural" which would according to you be hinduism(prayers,rituals and superstitions) since its done by most hindus.From this you concluded that they cannot become atheists because majority of hindus still believe in this crap.Thats absurd.

epheral said...

they cannot become atheists because majority of hindus still believe in this crap.Thats absurd.
One should not become haughty as not to accept mistakes I also make mistakes in haste sometimes ignorance at least i have the balls to admit it.You do not even admit that you did not know the that definition of hinduism is contentious neither you were aware of atheist schools of philosophy.I have not commented about santana dharma frankly i have not read books about them (which i intend to do sometme in future).I only commented since from all your posts it was clear you regarded hinduism as religion very similar to others which clearly its not. I just wanted to point to you that what you have been criticizing is culture its endless it keeps on evolving.Puranans were added around 4th century AD .Rigvedas have been transmitted since 1500BC(Michael witzel).Mahabharata ,puranas ,vedas yoga manusmiriti,varnas ramayana, and the list goes on and on(who decides what goes in hinduism?this will always be debatable?).Hinduism is a coined term by foreigners its very different from the prophetic t religions islam who preach its the only true and only religion and muhammad is the prophet.If I am muslim and I say I do not believe quran is God's word actually what I am saying I am not a muslim(though islam prohibits leaving religion, and punishment for apostasy is death (Richard Dawkins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQzuFrMRA3M)

ephemeral said...

Your ooga-booga analogy is incorrect
"5. Any person who criticizes the King James Bible is by definition arguing against the entire corpus of philosophical literature written in English." No if I define ooga-booga as class sports criticism of one sport does not imply criticism of all.

"In short, people like you define Hinduism in a broad way so that you can dance around any criticism" Again I have not defined it.Neither I am dancing around criticism.Criticize as much as you want I never commented on your santana dharma critique.I only wanted to make a general comment on all your posts which are about hinduism the nature of which you had/have a very faint idea.

ephemeral said...

yeah and thanks for the No True Scotsman fallacy.Learnt something new.thanks.

ephemeral said...

and I do not exemplify the NTS fallacy because there is no universal definition of Hinduism.

Lije said...

Splitting my reply into parts to get around comment size restriction:

P-1

I am not a hindu apologist.Heck hindus practices evils like sati

How very cute. Let me throw your pointless definitions game back at you:

2. Sati Pratha has nothing to do with Vedas. Vedas, on contrary, appeal to a widow to start life afresh and not waste life merely remembering the past.

3. Dasi Pratha was a gift of Christian, Muslim and Jew cultures or their predecessors. There is nothing about this in Vedas. However Testaments and Quran (modern versions) are replete with it.


So you, the great defender of Hinduism, who was so concerned that "from all your posts it was clear you were not aware of the contentious definition of hinduism", have no compulsions in associating the word "Hindus" with the word "Sati". But when I do something similar (criticize Hindu beliefs) with my articles, you moan and wail and moan and wail. I'll tell you why. Sati is obviously evil and indefensible. So it is easy to spit on it. But when I criticize other ideas of your beloved Hinduism, you can't digest them. Hence all the pissing about definitions. You are blinded to the fact that you yourself have a working definition by which you say "I am not a hindu apologist". Hypocrisy at its best.

they cannot become atheists because majority of hindus still believe in this crap.Thats absurd.

It's not absurd. I defined Hinduism as having beliefs in "prayer, rituals, superstitions, and the supernatural". I also defined atheism. They cover non-overlapping sets of people. After that you bitched about definitions, and I said, my definition is good enough (for what I do on this site). You know from my very first reply, I've been saying you can't read properly. Heed that and make an effort.

I also make mistakes in haste sometimes ignorance at least i have the balls to admit it.

You have balls not for admitting mistakes (you knew you'd gotten roasted if you stood by it), but have them for making troglodytic assumptions like this:

You do not even admit that you did not know the that definition of hinduism is contentious neither you were aware of atheist schools of philosophy.

I know there exist apologists like you who bitch about definitions whenever anyone criticizes Hinduism. However, as I said earlier, my definition of Hinduism describes what most Hindus do. I know that you don't agree with that definition (duh, which Sanatana Dogmatist would?). I'm more interested in addressing those majority beliefs which are non-naturalistic rather than split semantic hairs.

Lije said...

P-2

I just wanted to point to you that what you have been criticizing is culture its endless it keeps on evolving.

You are the kind of supremacist bigot I think I have mentioned elsewhere on this site. Do you think culture evolves only in people who call themselves Hindus? Get out of your egotistic well and you will see that not all Christians and Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of their books (surprise, surprise!), and are more "spiritual" than "religious" (oh, the horror!) and (gasp!) they too have a culture that evolves. And Dawkins criticizes such culture as well. (If you can dig up a link of Dawkins talking about Islam, I'm sure you can also lookup links where he firmly advocates a naturalistic worldview.)

Puranans were added around 4th century AD .Rigvedas have been transmitted since 1500BC(Michael witzel).Mahabharata ,puranas ,vedas yoga manusmiriti,varnas ramayana, and the list goes on and on

Puranas - Some nonsensical stories which millions believe have happened really.

Vedas - Stuff about performing rituals to curry favor with the gods and untenable philosophical ideas.

Mahabharata - an epic ala Lord of The Rings but millions of people believe in the nonsense of Mahabharata really taking place as it was described.

Ramayana - another fictional story which millions believe has taken place really and they also believe in the primitive morals espoused in it.

Manusmriti - Do I need even go there?

Yoga - Untenable philosophical ideas and in part uses "non-hindu" exercise forms.

and the list goes on and on

Do keep the list coming. It is really helpful for me so that I can use these comments as a reference to point to when apologists like you feel indignant about the definition of Hinduism.

I only wanted to make a general comment on all your posts which are about hinduism the nature of which you had/have a very faint idea.

Then educate me, o liberated soul, educate me. Most of what you have done so far is bitch about definitions. Give me some substance.

ephemeral said...

Again now you did not admit that you were incorrect about ooga-booga analogy.You do not admit,fist your refute the ad-populum then you ,then you accept your own definition again.Nor do you again comment on nimrukta post you gave yourself which says the same thing about hindu being a made up word. First if you are making such posts you should prove why all other defintions of hinduism are incorect and yours is correct.I am saying you can criticize as much as you want I really don't care.I am not a Santana dogmatist.I have not even read it man why are you so bitter.As for your criticism of vedas,ramayana etc good i know about it and i do not defend it, good job.I mentioned sati because it will be part of your defintion of hinduism as having beliefs in "prayer, rituals, superstitions, and the supernatural" or the one i mentioned in the first post.

Lije said...

P-1

Again now you did not admit that you were incorrect about ooga-booga analogy.

I admit that proposition given in point 5 is wrong. Before you jump in joy, here is the correct version:

5. Any person who criticizes the King James Bible by definition:

i) is not aware of the contentious definition of ooga-booga-wooga.
ii) had/has a very faint idea of ooga-booga-wooga.

Mind you, in my analogy the person who criticizes the King James Bible does not accept the definition of ooga-booga-wooga because it clubs all philosophies together many of which contradict each other.

You do not admit,fist your refute the ad-populum then you ,then you accept your own definition again.

In formal logic, saying that a proposition is true means it is true in all cases permitted by the axiomatic system it is based on. So read this again as I'm sure you did not understand it if you had indeed read it, and ask me for clarifications if you still cannot fathom what it means.

First if you are making such posts you should prove why all other defintions of hinduism are incorect and yours is correct.

True to my empirical nature, I have been observing people who call themselves Hindus. A majority of them believe in a god or in the supernatural. It is only logical to infer that the set of all people who call themselves Hindus mostly have irrational beliefs. When I address an argument to them, they immediately know it is them that I'm addressing.

In your eagerness to get me to concede something to you, as a response to my ooga-booga-wooga analogy, said "class sports criticism of one sport does not imply criticism of all.". If Hinduism were cricket, a majority of people play cricket with three wickets. But there are some fringe players who use five wickets to play the game and they call that cricket. If I were to go on the streets and ask random people "how many wickets are there at the batsman's end in a game of cricket", the answer I'd get most of the time is three. Not five. Why should I care about those fringe players when I got my hands full with players who play cricket with three wickets and they accept that it is proper cricket?

That is how pathetic your semantic hair splitting is. Before you start slicing the semantics of this analogy, don't take it literally and whine that nobody plays cricket with five wickets or introduce other variations of cricket like book-cricket etc... It is just an analogy that makes clear the kind of inane definitions game you play. Again, it is for the purpose of future reference.

Lije said...

P-2

I am saying you can criticize as much as you want I really don't care.

Oh, you do. Whatever I've been saying on this blog concerns three-wicket-cricket and most people reading it will agree that it is three-wicket-cricket and in you come posing about five wickets because you do care for the three-wicket-game.

I have not even read it man why are you so bitter.

Your opening comment is "You are a big idiot". It is quite easy to see who is "so bitter". Me? I'm just having fun ripping apart your apologist antics. That's how I reply to apologists such as yourself on this blog, if you haven't noticed that already. Don't you see Dawkins having a blast with religious nutcases? He is a fun guy. Not that I'm comparing myself with Dawkins, I wouldn't dream of it, just explaining to your semantic-hair-splitter-mind what the word bitter means not. Afterall, I do call myself a new atheist.

I mentioned sati because..

You mentioned it because I called you an apologist (and I still do) and you were eager to not appear in the same category as the kind of apologist who would support easy-to-pick-on superstitions. Don't change your words. That's disgusting.

Nor do you again comment on nimrukta post you gave yourself which says the same thing about hindu being a made up word.

Of course it is a made up word (which word isn't?) and I completely agree with the article. It is meant for people like you who the moment they see criticism of Hinduism start complaining about what is "true" Hinduism and what is not and only serve as a distraction in the goal of reducing irrationality. It was a one time effort so as to address claims which people like you keep making on that site. Just like this comment thread will be my one time effort in dealing with your kind. Btw, did you comment on that article under the name rahul? 'Cause his arguments look just as pathetic as the ones you made here.

Finally, I don't care how "correct" my definition is. Because the arguments I make on this blog don't hinge on definitions and a word can always be replaced with lower-level constituents without the argument losing any validity. As the great man once said, "a rose by another name smells just as sweet" or as I say "crap by any other name stinks just as bad". Replace the word Hinduism with whatever I've defined here if it is so painful for you to read about your beloved Hinduism on my blog. Or copy my articles in a text editor and do a search for "hinduism" and replace it with "asdfsdf" or whatever and then read them.

ephemeral said...

This debate has stretched two days .I tell you what we are both wasting each others time.I have a suggestion either we can do this real time ---you can add a chatbox widget(Its easy to do that) we can have a chat or we can do any other way you like(gmailchat,messenger facebook chat etc).If you say yes to this we can fix a date and time.If you do not agree I am not going to write anymore to any of your comments you further make.

Lije said...

What do you want to convince me about? I've already said I'm not interested in semantic games. Whatever needs to be said on that front has been said.

If you have any arguments to offer against the content of my blog, post a comment under the relevant article.

Anonymous said...

Rest assured Christian propagandist like you will never win, you kind will be exposed. Its only a matter of time.

Lije said...

Dear Anonymous,

You win the Internets in this part of netspace for making the most ignorant and illogical statement. Congratulations! You may now give your thank you speech.

I M THE TFG said...

"Of course it is a made up word (which word isn't?) and I completely agree with the article. It is meant for people like you who the moment they see criticism of Hinduism start complaining about what is "true" Hinduism and what is not and only serve as a distraction in the goal of reducing irrationality."
I am one of them now defend my attacks..."Science also has facts and myths...and majority beleive in myths...or what's written (even proved)....in the books(or whatever)..." Is that enough to criticize science(Don't say foolishly..that don't compare sciece and sanatan dharma).....Answer no that's why science is changing every time...Now people we know are never always qualify as scientists so no other choice then to follow them if any of these scientist goes wrong the people follow the wrong....thus majority...The past you talk about is resyult of one of these scientists(provided you exclude the loss of heritage done by Britishers and muslims)...and You are smart(lol)...enpough to pick it and make a matter of discussion(lol^2)....
And ephemeral is right we don't have time to argue...as sanatan dharma teachs discussion is good debate is a waste of time....You can even prove by straw man that cannibalism is good See the statement posted in fb and dare to challenge it(in fb itself)....
"Let's become Cannibals::Friends and foes we all know how meat is nourisious to health....so is chicken so is mutton,beef,fish even egg...and aha! human flesh is far more nourishes then any of above(Biological fact) ....let's take pledge we will eat Human meat from nowadays...come-on Yaar....we are fact based persons....."
Source::http://www.facebook.com/groups/IndianAtheists/295870597115111/?notif_t=group_activity

Lije said...

Dear F,

Please learn about the naturalistic fallacy, and then also about ethics.

Prongs said...

It may be a bit too late to join the debate, but I will thrown in my penny's worth.

1. Belief that their belief is not based on faith, but based on the Ultimate Truth.

It is quite true that a lot of Hindu dogmatists do say this, but there are some problems with this assertion. The dogmatic members of any tradition will say something of this sort. Atheists and naturalists not expected. Also, it seems essentially correct that the hermeneutic tradition in Hinduism did not take recourse to the 'revealed nature of the vedas' as a criteria for truth. The philosophical argumentation in the upanishads and the brahmasutras are dialectical and to my knowledge, the revelation argument is rarely resorted to. And the criteria for verification of truth in most schools of Hinduism and Buddhism seems to be empirical (based on perception)

2.Belief that atheism too is accepted in their Sanatana Dogma.

Depends on whether the context of the claim is historical or philosophical. It relates to the position of the Charvaka school within Hinduism. Charvakas were materialists and were not part of the orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy and did not believe in the vedas. However, they were allowed to propagate their doctrines freely. Amartya Sen makes this point when making a case for the existence of hetrodoxy in ancient India. But Lije is perfectly right in saying that it makes no sense to say that you believe in the vedas and then say that it is compatible with atheism. But his assertion that Hinduism invokes the supernatural to explain things is a philosophical misunderstanding. The whole strategy of idealist philosophies (of which Vedanta is a variant) is to call into question the very distinction between the natural and the supernatural and the physical and the mental. To talk about supernatural explanations in this context is to miss the point.

3. Belief that morality has an objective existence and that it is eternal.

Same problem. For idealist philosophies, the universe is mental and the physical is an emergent state whose properties are ontologically reducible to the mental. Such a universe would care about morality. The charge of uncritical use of pseudo-science is absolutely true. But to be fair, the appropriation of physical science and the simplistic equating of it with naturalism by dabblers in philosophy like Dawkins, do also reek of ignorance.

4. Belief that the Varna system is good

The varna system is bullshit. Completely as an aside, it has interesting parallels with the four houses in Harry Potter.

5. Belief in Karma

Apart from a lot of rude name calling, I found this section completely incoherent. What are the philosophical or conceptual problems with the Karma theory? Please explicate.

6. Belief in a decaying world.

This is some mythology about the Kali yuga. Most ancient civilizations including Greeks held similar beliefs. Apart from anthropological interest, doesn't seem essential to Hinduism or anything else.

Lije said...

"It is quite true that a lot of Hindu dogmatists do say this.."

"But his assertion that Hinduism invokes the supernatural to explain things is a philosophical misunderstanding"


This article is not meant for publishing in a philosophy journal, but addresses beliefs that correlate very strongly with Hinduism. The charge of misunderstanding don't stand given the way I define Hinduism (see previous comments in the article). I do consider entities like Brahman as supernatural. But this again is just a dispute over definitions. A clear way of saying it is Hinduism resorts to absurd explanations whereas naturalism does not.

Also can you cite some examples of Dawkin's arrogance?

"Apart from a lot of rude name calling, I found this section completely incoherent."

Er, what is so incoherent? That dogmatists believe that there is some account of one's karma which survives past one's death and decides what one is born again as?

"Apart from anthropological interest, doesn't seem essential to Hinduism or anything else."

Again, it is essential to the way I define Hinduism. A belief in a golden age is not so irrelevant as you seem to be suggesting.

Prongs said...

Firstly, congrats on the blog. Something like what you are trying to do on this blog relieves a bit of my pessimism that as a country we are just incapable of being critical. Now to the tedious specifics.

"This article is not meant for publishing in a philosophy journal, but addresses beliefs that correlate very strongly with Hinduism. The charge of misunderstanding don't stand given the way I define Hinduism (see previous comments in the article)".

If I understand correctly, you have said somewhere else in this blog that the word Hinduism can be substituted for any non-naturalistic world view. I haven’t read everything on this blog but the general impression it gives is that, inspired by the New Atheists, you are claiming that any non-naturalist philosophy is not based on reason and ignores scientific and other evidences. Now, this is a very large philosophical claim and I expect that you would need several books, not merely an article (whether in a blog or philosophical journal) to establish this. If what you are saying is correct, more than 80 per cent of all the debates and issues in all the philosophical traditions in the world are obsolete and hundreds of philosophy departments all over the globe would have to be disbanded. So to say that this is a blog article to do with Hinduism and not intended for a philosophy journal is not a defence. I suspect that it actually points to the fact that you are severely underestimating the scope of the claims you are making.

"I do consider entities like Brahman as supernatural. But this again is just a dispute over definitions. A clear way of saying it is Hinduism resorts to absurd explanations whereas naturalism does not."

This is not merely a dispute over definitions. However, before I try to demonstrate what I think is involved, I think it would be useful to have some definitions. It is impossible to conduct philosophical, scientific or any other discussions without some initial definitions of the terms involved. So can you please define what you mean by natural and by natural explanation?
Also, by Hinduism if you mean some common denominator of the religious views held by Hindus, it would doubtlessly resort to absurd explanations. But as I said before, this is as true of a large group of agnostics or atheists. When you use the term naturalism here, I doubt you are referring to beliefs that correlate with the views of agnostics and atheists scattered throughout the world. Just like the Hindu dogmatists that you castigate, I very much doubt whether they too have heard of either metaphysical or methodological naturalism. By naturalism you mean the clearly expounded philosophical doctrines of a minority, which we take as representing, and as giving conscious conceptual articulation and clarification to the unconsciously and intuitively held world views of a majority. Mutatus Mutandis, if by Hinduism we mean the philosophical doctrines of Hinduism, then I am not aware that it resorts to any absurd explanations. Can you substantiate?

"Er, what is so incoherent? That dogmatists believe that there is some account of one's karma which survives past one's death and decides what one is born again as?"

I meant to say that you haven’t said anywhere what is illogical in claiming that past karma influences one’s present. What is untenable about that concept?

"A belief in a golden age is not so irrelevant as you seem to be suggesting."

You are quite right if you mean it in a political sense. It no doubt provides intellectual and ideological grounds for the Hindutva Right’s reading of Indian history. It also helps the Sri Ravi Shankars and Baba Ramdevs of this world to find more recruits.

Prongs said...

Examples of Dawkin's ignorance of the philosophical and religious tradition are too many to cite.

Giving links to two articles by Terry Eagleton, the Marxist literary critic. Disclaimer- Apart from his criticism of Dawkins, I don't endorse the rest of his views. Whether it's Jesus or Marx.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n20/terry-eagleton/lunging-flailing-mispunching

http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2009/09/17/religion-for-radicals-an-interview-with-terry-eagleton/

Lije said...

If I understand correctly, you have said somewhere else in this blog that the word Hinduism can be substituted for any non-naturalistic world view.

I haven't said anything close to that. I define Hinduism something like this. Hinduism is a non-naturalistic worldview. But all non-naturalistic worldviews are not Hinduism. What I did say to a Hindu apologist is to substitute the word Hinduism with any word he likes if it so pains him to read about his beloved Hinduism in the manner written about in this blog.

I haven’t read everything on this blog but the general impression it gives is that, inspired by the New Atheists, you are claiming that any non-naturalist philosophy is not based on reason and ignores scientific and other evidences. Now, this is a very large philosophical claim and I expect that you would need several books, not merely an article....So to say that this is a blog article to do with Hinduism and not intended for a philosophy journal is not a defence.

It is quite clear at what claims this article is directed. Those claims are not academic, but pertain to what the average Hindu is likely to believe in. Maybe you should head over to here.

So can you please define what you mean by natural and by natural explanation?

To begin with, the assumptions are that there exists a world independent of the human mind, that inductive reasoning is valid, and that the world has certain properties that can be known by observation and induction. The next assumption is that an explanation should be useful in the sense that it should predict something. Natural explanations are testable in that you have a theory at hand which you then verify with observations. Things like Brahman don't fit that bill and hence are supernatural.

Also, by Hinduism if you mean some common denominator of the religious views held by Hindus, it would doubtlessly resort to absurd explanations

Which is exactly what I mean.

But as I said before, this is as true of a large group of agnostics or atheists. When you use the term naturalism here, I doubt you are referring to beliefs that correlate with the views of agnostics and atheists scattered throughout the world.

Nope. You are wrong with that. New atheists at a minimum are familiar with the scientific method. I did not go into cultural naturalism in this article (or elsewhere in the blog in general) which includes issues which you can heartily say that don't correlate very well with agnostics and atheists all over the world.

By naturalism you mean the clearly expounded philosophical doctrines of a minority, which we take as representing, and as giving conscious conceptual articulation and clarification to the unconsciously and intuitively held world views of a majority.

Since you want to include other content of my blog, it should be obvious that I clearly mean a doctrine like the scientific method which is anything but a minority position amongst new atheists. For example, using the scientific method, it is known that there is no evidence for a soul that keeps taking rebirth. So it is absurd to talk about methods of escaping the cycle and becoming liberated.

Lije said...

I meant to say that you haven’t said anywhere what is illogical in claiming that past karma influences one’s present. What is untenable about that concept?

Are you familiar with Hindu culture and how the word karma is commonly used? I know it is fashionable in some circles to use karma merely as "What you did in the past can influence you today", but they are a minority. The majority I know believe karma carrying over to the afterlife. You accuse me of ascribing a minority position to a majority, but my article and the preceding comments make it abundantly clear as to what positions I'm criticizing. And yet you pick a minority position and defend that as if it is that I've criticized.

Prongs said...

"Hinduism is a non-naturalistic worldview. But all non-naturalistic worldviews are not Hinduism. What I did say to a Hindu apologist is to substitute the word Hinduism with any word he likes"

Okay, my mistake. A general introduction to the blog and an FAQ section would be useful. Can you say which of these come closest to your position?
1. All non-naturalist world views do not resort to supernatural explanations but Hinduism does and does so in a way that is clearly and demonstrably absurd.
2. Both non-naturalist world views and Hinduism resort to supernatural explanations. But while many non-naturalist world views does so in a way that requires complex philosophical refutation, Hinduism does so in a way that is clearly and demonstrably absurd.
3. Though Hinduism resorts to supernatural explanations, at least some Hindu philosophers require complex refutation. It is only the fanatics and the majority whose explanations are absurd and demonstrably absurd.

Prongs said...

" The next assumption is that an explanation should be useful in the sense that it should predict something. Natural explanations are testable in that you have a theory at hand which you then verify with observations. Things like Brahman don't fit that bill and hence are supernatural."

This conception of a 'natural explanation' is inadequate. It would not even suffice as a definition that can account for existing scientific theories. For example, non-local hidden variables in Bohmian mechanics (a deterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics) are neither observable, nor can any predictions be made on their basis.

"Nope. You are wrong with that. New atheists at a minimum are familiar with the scientific method. "

When I said that a belief in the scientific method may not correlate with the views of a majority of atheists, I was not referring to the new atheists. I am referring to the millions of people in the world who do not believe in a god or a soul. Many of them would know less of science than they would of god. Some of them would be hostile to science (Foucault for example). The new atheists are only a section, and their views are derived in large measure from a minority (naturalist philosophers and other specialists) whom I said that we can consider as representing the majority's beliefs in a systematic way. This would be true to a lesser or greater degree for any tradition whether its atheism, agnosticism, Hinduism, Christianity, Marxism, post-modernism or even artistic movements like modernism.

"Since you want to include other content of my blog, it should be obvious that I clearly mean a doctrine like the scientific method which is anything but a minority position amongst new atheists. "

My point here again, was to direct your attention to the fact that the new atheists themselves are a minority among the fragmented atheist community of the world. I am sure that the carpenter who is an atheist, the primary school teacher who is an agnostic or to give a real life example, my grandmother who was an atheist had never heard of any kind of naturalism and know little about the scientific method.

Prongs said...

"The majority I know believe karma carrying over to the afterlife. You accuse me of ascribing a minority position to a majority, but my article and the preceding comments make it abundantly clear as to what positions I'm criticizing. And yet you pick a minority position and defend that as if it is that I've criticized."

Lije, I have no intention of accusing you of anything. I was not trying to defend a minority position, since I think that the proposition that "past karma influence's one's present" presupposes that "one carries one's karma to an afterlife". What I meant was that I see nothing 'absurd' in the latter, within the framework of Hindu metaphysics. You are able to term the Karma theory supernatural only beacuse you have defined 'natural' in such a way as to exclude explanations of this sort. This procedure merely begs the question. Once this is recognized, the debate gets shifted to whether the naturalist has sufficient and compelling grounds for her definition of 'natural'. Thsi is what I meant in my first post when I said that "The whole strategy of idealist philosophies (of which Vedanta is a variant) is to call into question the very distinction between the natural and the supernatural and the physical and the mental. To talk about supernatural explanations in this context is to miss the point."

After your last post I am not sure whether your blog only aims to debunk Hindu dogmatists or whether it aims to challenge hindu philosophy as such. But assertions like "Of course today we know enough about the brain to explain the states of brain which result in dissolution of the self and those states were interpreted to mean Brahman. Just like a junkie would rave on about his high, the people who experience the oneness also rave on about it." makes me think that your project includes debunking the claims of any Hindu philosopher. What exactly has neurobiology discovered that makes you think that we can now challenge the veracity of so-called mystical experiences? If you think it through you will see that even in the case of the junkie, nuerobiology cannot help us in determining whether her experiences are veridical. While neurobiology can explain what chemicals trigger the experience and what parts of the brain are involved in it, the belief that the experience is non-veridical borrows from our account of what counts as veridical perception, which is a prescientific account. Ultimately, the task of proving whether what the junkies experience is true or not, is a task for philosophy not science.

Lije said...

@Prongs,

The second point of this article says what kind of atheists I'm talking about. I know quiet well that there are other kinds of atheists. In fact India has no dearth of atheist bigots like this.

I will readily admit that consciousness is unexplained by science (while keeping this in mind). But that is no excuse to think that 'Karma' is not absurd. You can stay within any philosophical framework and find it consistent without any absurdities. But drawing upon Dawkins' example, no matter how consistent a philosophical framework is, reality has a way of not caring about it. So I don't really care about how complex, contrived or aesthetic a philosophy is. Nor have I any patience for academic discussions. The only thing I care is does the philosophy pay rent. You may not care about that, which is totally fine. Karma may seem non-absurd to you (in whatever frame of reference you want to use), but what I care about is what it means to people; as in "Hey shudra, perform your dharma well and get some good karma! In the next life you will be born into much better circumstances".

See how I didn't use the words "natural" and "supernatural"? Arguing by definitions has its pitfalls. Also, it appears that we have no common ground. You want to evaluate stuff like Karma within Hindu metaphysics. I want to evaluate it in terms of what is empirically observed, where the observations have been corrected for cognitive biases. So any more arguments on such lines will be orthogonal and will serve no purpose.

PS: Science is philosophy.

Prongs said...

Yes, I see very little common ground too. Anyways, best of luck with the blog.

Anonymous said...

LISTEN YOU BLOODY TWAT OF A DALIT!!!!!!

YOU TALK ABOUT CONTRADICTIONS IN HINDUISM YET YOU CUDDLE WITH ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY!!!!

YOU ARE A COMPLETE HYPOCRITE!!!!!!

YOUR FAVORITISM IS ASTOUNDINGLY SENILE AND PREMATURE AT BEST!!!!!

ALSO YOUR ENGLISH IS HORRENDOUS!!!!!

Genius Simplified said...

Hey Blogger, It shows you are one of those people who has been troubled by some Hindu Elements. Well try to keep your language unprovocing. I also want to say that if your identity is revealed, i am sure you are going to have the sorest ass in India. You seriously are a inverted piece of shit. If you are not one of those cowards hiding behind a screen name and trying to create nuisance in the cyberspace, then reveal your identity to all. We will see how many days you are going to survive after that. I am sure that you are one of those pathetic people who have no muscles to have a real fight and so try to get your taste of fight by these provocating blogs. I advice you to either delete your blogs or someone would track your ip and give you a nice.....Well you can get whatever you deserve.