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.

2 comments:

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.