Wines in India (was Re: "Science" in India)

Narayan Sriranga Raja missing_link_found at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 23 16:57:50 UTC 2000

Regarding the expected scholarly attainments
of people on this list: there seems to be some
difference in expectations here between the
"techies" and the "real Indologists" as to
what constitutes an idea worth listening to.

Us techies are used to unambiguous mathematical
proofs which we can work through for ourselves
(no need to trust any figure of authority or say
"Harrumph... I have a Ph.D. and 83 publications").

We don't need to learn Latin and read the original
works of Copernicus and Kepler; in the twelfth grade,
we can derive for ourselves, from first principles,
"Kepler's Third Law".  It takes maybe 15 minutes.

We don't have to cite authorities to prove that the
Earth is round.  Nowadays, we can just look at a
photograph of the Earth taken from the Space Shuttle.
The photographs clearly show that the Earth is round.

We don't need a Ph.D. and six years of postdoctoral
experience to understand (some of) Einstein; in the
mere first year of our Bachelor's degree studies,
we can derive for ourselves, from first principles,
the fact that E = mc-squared.  It takes a few minutes.

But unfortunately, that's not how we discuss the facts
of Indian history.  We are just told "This happened.
That happened.  If you don't believe me, you need to
get a Ph.D., learn Old Ruritanian, and read the works
of Ephraim Geezer, written in Swahili, circa 1577."

It may be true.  Yet, to an engineer, accustomed to
neat, undeniable mathematical proofs for even the
most complex ideas, this line of argument (proof by
intimidation) can sound bogus.

This may account for some of the friction we see
on this list.

Then there's Farmer, now running amok and
laying waste to entire civilizations   :-)   :-)
(hmmm... maybe he's an ancient Indo-Aryan --
that would explain his superior Horsepower).  :-)


Narayan Sriranga Raja.

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