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Re: ARTICLE : Modern Discoveries in ancient works

Posted By Ramki Balasubramanian (ramki)
Tue, 7 Jan 1997 10:47:02 -0800 (PST)

Hi, sorry for direct email.. can't get to post to s.r.h

: From kishore@mail.utexas.edu Tue Jan 7 09:54:36 PST 1997
: Subject: Re: ARTICLE : Modern Discoveries in Ancient Works
:
: In article <ghenE3GrH8.AI0@netcom.com>, parrikar@spot.Colorado.EDU says...
: >>In article <ghenE3EvA4.6u1@netcom.com>,
: >> <Madhava.Kumar@lana.zippo.com> wrote:
: >> Modern Discoveries in Ancient Works
: >> ===================================
: >> By : Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati
:
: > The aim of this effort
: >should be to document, highlight and put on a firm footing (in modern
: >scientific terms) the indigenous contributions and NOT to repudiate or
: >diminish the worth of the impressive feats of modern western scientific

Right.

: >thought (universal in character today).
:
: I doubt that he meant to denigrate Newton's accomplishment as you're
: claiming - had he wished to do so, he could have easily said outright that
: Newton does not deserve any credit. His point, and I believe it is a
: valid one is the following (I don't think you disagree given the initial part
: of your post that I snipped):
:
: "There are many such precious truths embedded in our ancient sastras.
^^^^
delete this and I would agree.

: Because of our ignorance of them we show inordinate respect for ideas
: propounded by foreigners,

The point about science is that it does not discriminate based on
'desi'/foreign. And also that a scientific claim *cannot* be done
in a 'cultural' framework. It *has* to be proven/disproved along the
scientific method. Linguistic/Poetic abstractions of the universe (of
a very high order) thus do *not*, IMHO, lend themselves to scientific
discourse.

: ideas known to us many centuries before their discovery by them".

Again, this may just be a matter of retro-fitting existing scientific
thoughts into an earlier framework that has allegorical/metaphorical
thoughts. I believe this is atleast part of the answer. To give a simple
example, an archer with an accurate aim may, in one sense, understand
gravity, but to claim that he UNDERSTOOD Newton's laws is to deny him
his prowess as an archer and to deny Newton his scientific achievement.
If such a claim can be made, then everybody knows everything, only we
don't know that we know everything! Correct me if I am wrong.

: You can come to the Upanishads with religion on your mind,
: and come away with devotion.

Fine. But to equate that to formal science is stretching things a bit.

: >Before I quit here's another piece of nonsense:
: >
: >>we call the universe, with all its galaxies, "Brahmanda".
: >>It means the egg created by Brahma (the cosmig egg). An egg
: >>is not exactly spherical in shape, but oval. According to
: >>modren science the universe too is oval in shape.
: >
: > [science may] propose a different shape for the universe. If it turns
: >out to be, say, cuboid, I can tell that Brahma ain't going to have
: >a very pleasant time laying those eggs.
:
: With the literal-midedness you display, I have to wonder if you've
: heard the expression "pregnant with thought" - I hope you don't think
: that someone in this condition is going to give birth literally.

You missed the point, AND the :-) there. The point is that the original
post uses the method of 'literal intrepretation' of our scriptures
to make it look like 'pure science' ( the 'method' you verily denounce
right here!) Besides, modern science , *as of now*, KNOWS/VERIFIES
that universe is a space-time continuum and that space itself is
*expanding* (into what?).. and that space and time are meaningless
when they are split apart (AND at the fundamental level of quanta.)

Don't get me wrong, I do have a very high respect for Indian thoughts.
What I don't agree with is that 'All of it is valid at ALL times, in ALL
methods of discourse (science being one of them)'. Let us be aware of
our *cultural* heritage and give credit where credit is due.

: --
: Kishore Krshna
: kishore@mail.utexas.edu

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