indians and intelligent design

Well, sort of. I’ve met a number of indians now who maintain ideas that would strike a good (non-fundamentalist) westerner as rather incredible. The people i have in mind, moreover, all have Masters’ degrees in some science or other. When we discuss the history of India they will explain, for example, that old texts like the Mahabharata refer to incredible weapons, flying machines etc. The conclusion they draw is that in the days of old people had atomic bombs and airplanes. Or they will maintain that certain yogis alive today are 250 or even 8000 years old and have stayed alive thanks to their yoga skills.

This naturally reminds me of the americans i know who staunchly assert that the earth is some 6000+ years old and that Moses really parted the red sea back in the day.

What strikes me most in both cases is that these incredible beliefs are always maintained not despite, but with science. Christians will maintain that they can scientifically prove that the earth is 6000 years old. They will go to great geological lengths to explain how it is physically possible that some earthquake caused the read sea to part just at the right time. Likewise, my indian friends always back up their far-fetched assertions with statements to the effect that scientists have discovered this or that, which corroborates the prehistoric atomic bomb idea.

The main difference between the americans and the indians is that the former will go against mainstream science, should it contradict their ingrained beliefs; the latter always preface their tall tales with the caveat that, though most probably true, what follows has not yet been entirely confirmed by science. However, though the latter position cannot but strike my tedious modern mind as overly gullible, it is after all innocuous and, late at night in dimly lit pseudo-chinese restaurants, highly entertaining.

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