Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Scientific Indian; and Why Indians aren't "Aryan"

Prashant Mullick has started a project he's calling the The Scientific Indian. I think it's a great idea. It's a useful counter to the Vedic Science/neo-astrology/homeopathy trend we've been seeing, a tendency often espoused, surprisingly enough, by people working in high technology and science fields themselves. I've complained about this often, in my readings of Meera Nanda (whose work I like), and in my various rants and critiques of Rajiv Malhotra.

Small digression: some people may wonder why I include homeopathy on the same list as "Vedic Science" ... I'm currently trying to make peace with Ayurveda, though I worry when people begin to take it seriously on its own terms. Some Ayurvedic remedies may work, but if they do, it's purely by accident -- trial-and-error. And even before we can say they "work," we need to see their effects studied through double-blind testing... Has this work been done?]

But back to the Scientific Indian. There, you'll find a link to a post by Razib at Gene Expression, about whether genetics -- specifically mitochondrial DNA can prove the myth that high-caste Indians are actually descended from ancient Caucasian invaders. I'm not a big fan of sociobiology, especially with a libertarian twist. But Razib I like, and here he makes a really interesting point about the relationship of language formation to the story of human migration told by mtDNA.


Rob Breymaier said...

Sounds like someone is defending the modernist project. Just kidding. Although, declaring that Ayurveda isn't valid unless Western medicine verifies it is suspect. I'm not sure I would have used the word accident. Trial and error fits though. But, thenm again Western medicine has it share of trial and error as well.

Prashant said...

A small clarification: The Scientific Indian project was actually started by Selva. We're a growing community project now.

To add to your astrology comment, we've had several discussions on Astrology that might be interesting reads for this audience.