Arjun Singh sued over books raising doubts about deities

Here's One on an interesting law suit filed over a book. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activist has taken Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh to court for schoolbooks suggesting there is no scientific evidence that Hindu deities Ram and Krishna existed.

Ajit Kumar, a BJP worker from the Samastipur district, has filed a complaint in court against Singh and a few others, stating that new history books for Class 11, which say there is no scientific evidence of Ram and Krishna, have hurt the sentiments of Hindus.

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"You were right Markeson!...

People are alike all over" - Roddy McDowell, Twilight Zone, episode not recalled.It's important to remember that there are irrational fanatics in EVERY country. Some use the law, some use bombs, but all have the key idea that it's their way or the highway (or the grave). And if God and Country won't make ALL people see things EXACTLY their own way, many of these fanatics of all (or no religion) are quite willing to take things into their own hands.God help us all.

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

Well now wait a minute. Is there scientific evidence for string theory? Its one thing to have hypothesis and theories for why something is, its quite another to say something absolutely is not. Its seems strange to deliberately go out of your way to say so. To me the irrational fanatic is the guy who wrote the book.

Big difference

Is there scientific evidence for string theory?

The jury is still out on that one; unlike with the question of scientific evidence for creationism or any g/God. That one is well settled, and the answer is: NO!

Moreover, demanding scientific evidence for something which is admitted to not having evidence as a central tenet of the concept of faith is counter-productive.

To me the irrational fanatic is the one who can't keep his doctrines straight.

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

Note: I should have titled my header "Marcusson, you were right!" That line was from Twilight Zone's first season episode, "People are alike all over."If Ajit Kuma has scientific evidence that Hindu deities Ram and Krishna existed, then he should publicly present it. Otherwise the textbook claim is true to the extent that there is no scientific evidence for the deities. In the realm of religion, I'm with the quote made famous by Donald Rumsfeld "Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence."As far as string theory goes, as far as I can tell it has not made any falsiable predictions, so we cannot rationally tell whether string theory is real or not.But most of science is built on solid, experimental evidence. We "believe" in atoms and some 100+ elements because it explains all observable chemistry and no other "theory" does.We "believe" that white light is made up of many colors because you can run white light through a prism and get a rainbow.When you get to first causes and God, there's nothing for science to test. We'd need a prediction on how a universe that was created by God (or gods) differed from a universe that arose from blind chance. I'm not aware of any such test, but that doesn't decrease my faith that God exists and that he intervened in human history and eventually sent his only begotten Son for the salvation of the world. It just is, and I don't need a telescope or microscope for that. God *is* and that's it for me.I will give you a +2 for ecumenism though. I'm sure that many American Christians would say "Of course there's no evidence Ram and Krishna existed, they were just idols. Only My Lord exists!" You're willingness to accept that Ram and Krishna might exist is interesting and refreshingly open minded.

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

I will give you a +2 for ecumenism though. I'm sure that many American Christians would say "Of course there's no evidence Ram and Krishna existed, they were just idols. Only My Lord exists!" You're willingness to accept that Ram and Krishna might exist is interesting and refreshingly open minded.

For the record I don't know who they are. I know the names but I' don't know if they are straightforward deities or if they are also considered actual people who walked the Earth like Jesus or, I believe, Buddha. I am a one-true God person but again why go out of your way to bash something? The statement may be logically accurate, the intent is sinister.

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

The statement may be logically accurate, the intent is sinister.

And where do you find evidence of his "intent" ? Merely stating that there is no scientific evidence of the existence any particular diety is hardly evidence of sinister intent--unless of course you think the nuns at the Catholic school I attended had some sinister intent in saying the same thing (and not about Krishna!) Religious faith doesn't, or at least isn't supposed to, rest on scientific evidence. And the distinction between science and faith is an important one--at least if you want to be able to teach both in a reasonable manner.

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

"Its historicity is not meant to hurt religious feelings but to encourage the readers to think scientifically. The book neither denigrates the deities Ram and Krishna, nor their abodes Ayodhya and Mathura," said Sharma.

To "think scientifically" in a history class, as opposed to a science class, and to deliberatly say that other ideas are unscientific is to cut off thinking about those ideas. Why should we look at history only through science? What is the point of that unless you believe our existence is only scientific in nature?

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

The study of history--the real study of history, not just memorizing names and dates--is very thoroughly grounded in evidence. History isn't science, and historians are very aware of that fact, but "thinking scientifically," grounding your conclusions and your ideas in the available evidence and logical extrapolation therefrom is critical to the study of real history rather than feel-good, pseudo-patriotic nonsense. Doing so, and saying what we know, what we have evidence for, and what doesn't have scientific or documentary evidence, is in no way detrimental to religion.

An example: Despite the rantings of some who believe themselves completely rational in their approach, we do in fact have ample evidence that the man Jesus existed and was a religious leader is Israel in the early years of the Common Era. We have ample evidence that he made a substantial impact on his followers. No one questions the existence of persons from that era of whom we have far less evidence. We don't have proof that he performed miracles, rose from the dead, was the product of a virgin birth, that his mother was taken bodily into heaven--and religious faith doesn't doesn't require these things. God is not subject to either proof or disproof by scientific means, and it's not only not harmful to say that religious belief is not grounded in science; it's important to make the distinction. They are two different ways of knowing, each with their proper place--and while science won't tell you whether God exists, faith can't tell you whether or not Washington crossed the Delaware, or what day the D-Day invasion was launched. Being hyper-sensitive about discussion of this doesn't show strength of faith; it shows insecurity.

(When I was in school, the nuns mentioned "creationism" only to point out that a)it was unscientific, and b) it rested on a belief that God would lie to us--i.e., plant fake fossils suggeting a false history of the Earth. They believed God created the universe; they didn't feel a need to dictated the details to Him.)

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

The study of history--the real study of history, not just memorizing names and dates--is very thoroughly grounded in evidence. History isn't science, and historians are very aware of that fact, but "thinking scientifically," grounding your conclusions and your ideas in the available evidence and logical extrapolation therefrom is critical to the study of real history rather than feel-good, pseudo-patriotic nonsense. Doing so, and saying what we know, what we have evidence for, and what doesn't have scientific or documentary evidence, is in no way detrimental to religion.

What's with the pseudo-patriotic bit? There's no scientific evidence for patriotism so we shouldn't teach that either?

I agree that history should be viewed with a scientific eye. That's one way. Its an important way, but not the only way (and I'm not so sure its the most important way).

The list of things we don't have scientific evidence for is a long one. Going out of your way to denounce something simply because there's no evidence is kind of pointless unless you deliberately want to beat something down in order to raise something else up.

Re:"You were right Markeson!...

What's with the pseudo-patriotic bit? There's no scientific evidence for patriotism so we shouldn't teach that either?

Real patriotism isn't built out of faking the history, nor is real faith built out of attacking people for making the rather obvious statement that belief in God(s) is not founded in science and His/Their existence is not subject to scientific or historical proof or disproof. Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed, to name the three most obvious examples, are real historical people, with as much historical documentation as we demand of other, non-religiously-significant, individuals of similar background and circumstances. Their lives and activities should be covered in any history class covering their periods and locales.

It's NOT either offensive or inappropriate to note, however, that what they taught is religion, not science. In fact, in highly diverse societies, such as the US or India, and with student populations that are just learning the differences between science (based in evidence and logical reasoning, and testable and falsifiable), history (based in evidence and logical reasoning, but not subject to controlled experiment and falsifiable only by the recovery of more evidence from the past), and religion (based in religious texts, tradition, moral reasoning, and personal experience of the divine, not testable and not falsifiable), it may be critically important to actively teach the differences.

Kids really do need to learn that someone who states a religious belief contrary to theirs is NOT necessarily either lying or attacking them.

The list of things we don't have scientific evidence for is a long one. Going out of your way to denounce something simply because there's no evidence is kind of pointless unless you deliberately want to beat something down in order to raise something else up.

Where is this word "denounce" coming from? Saying that one thing isn't another thing isn't "denouncing" it unless you think the thing that you're being told it's not is the measure of all things good and right and true. If I say that a speech from one of Shakespeare's plays, blank verse in iambic pentameter, isn't a Shakespearean sonnet, am I "denouncing" it?

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