Science, inference, rigor, AIT, Manasataramgini & self-goal

A seeker wrote…

A word about Manasataramgini: he is well read & well versed in Sanskrit. He can understand some primary material & has a good genetics background. But he holds on to a weird version of AIT (mind you, not AMT) that assumes invasion dates that even predates”conventional” AIT dates. I think he holds on to some Tilak school of thought which purports that Aryans came from cold, Arctic-like climates.

When I pointed out genetic papers that explicitly rule out any gene influx into India in the last 12500 years, his response was pure hand-waving. He told me that he is convinced of AIT and nothing will change his mind. So, he goes into a silent mode when evidence against AIT is pointed out. But when something remotely supporting AIT comes out, he latches on to it.

All this being said, he is in the broad “Hindu, right-wing camp” and is a staunch critic of Abrahamic faiths. His non-AIT writings are very interesting (he wrote a couple of pieces for IndiaFacts). He has good scholarship

So, that’s where we need to co-exist with him: in the broader camp with a common vision for Sanatana Dharma’s survival, but not necessarily agreeing with everything

Another seeker responded…

Co existence is not a problem. But everyone who fights on the side of the Hindu or Indian camp have their strong points where they have a firm grip on what is known and what is provable or demonstrable. I have mine and if I find a person such as Manasataramgini using arguments that are easily toppled by what I can show I would advise him against using them. I would not ask him to change his views, but stop using arguments that can be butt kicked to jannat.

In medicine I find differences between Hindu/Ayurvedic beliefs and allopathic medical practices. That does not necessarily mean that only one is correct. But when the Ayurved uses pseudoscience with the allopath he is getting himself into trouble, There are perfectly good science explanations for what works in Ayurveda without using mumbo jumbo or obfuscation, but I digress. This was merely an illustrative example.

Neither I nor Shri Manasataramgin invented the term Aryan Invasion Theory. That theory has a fairly specific timeline and origin. If Shri Manasataramgini’s timeline is different and he feels there was a much earlier invasion or migration he is being extraordinarily ignorant is using the terminology “Aryan Invasion” invented by 19th century European Orientalists. All his claims of being a supporter of Hindus can fall flat if he is unable to show the difference between what he says and what those Indologists said. Coexistence requires that he recognizes that there are other viewpoints – some of which carry some weight of history, science or logic. Being in denial or being dismissive is a self goal.

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6 thoughts on “Science, inference, rigor, AIT, Manasataramgini & self-goal

  1. Dear Sir, how do you rate MT’s grasp of genetics?…I believe he is a geneticist. I am asking this because, although, one can present archaeology or linguistics to counter AIT, I am blank as to the genetics of the question and hence feel hampered…

    • I have no way of answering this question. Do recognize that someone may have a grasp of a subject (this comment of mine is neither specific to MT nor solely about genetics) and still reach wrong conclusions. IMHO, He has not presented his thesis in a form (irrespective of the claims made by him and his followers) that can be critiqued in a crisp fashion. Each discipline (astronomy, archaeology, genetics, geology, etc.) comes with its own peculiarity. One has to (I do not know of any alternative) go 20 levels deeper, before one can truly comprehend the subject and thus able to distinguish brilliant and ingenious proposals from BS.

      Also it is not correct that one can present evidence from ‘Archeology or linguistics or other disciplines’ as a counter to conclusion drawn from another discipline.

      AIT is a theory alright. However, only specific claims, if they are stated in a clear fashion, can be countered. For example, if AIT proponent makes a statement as follows: “S/he asserts, based on XXX evidence (insert anything here – genetics, archaeology, linguistics, etc.) that ‘someone’ entered Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE (or 2000 BCE, or 2200 BCE) and only after this all the instances of Indian history e.g. Ramayana or Mahabharata, took place.” Then, this specific statement can be countered by ‘astronomy’ or ‘chronological’ evidence of Mahabharata (alone).

      But what it is countering is the specific claim of above statement that Mahabharata occurred after 2200 BCE. This can be falsified in less than 2 minutes. But the astronomy/chronology evidence of Mahabharata has nothing to say (or counter) about some people coming into Indian subcontinent during 1500 BCE, 2000 BCE or 2200 BCE.

      That is why a specific statement of a theory is required. AFAIK (and understand) MT approach is more of a justifying and/or fitting unfavorable and favorable evidence (mostly genetics) that is produced to his pet theory. If you read his various blogs, you will realize that his timing (his speculations for timing of AIT) keeps on changing. Now there is nothing wrong in changing one’s views, at all, in the light of new evidence…but the flavor/emphasis is more on justifying .. rather than corroborating and falsifying.

      Since you asked, my suggestion, for what it is worth, would be for you to read papers on genetics (follow one author name) and read all his/her papers, to become familiar with background assumptions, how sampling is done, how certain haplogroups become the focus of a specific paper, how statistical separation (subgroups) etc. is achieved. If you stick to this subject with full passion, you can be authority on the subject in 2 years. You will become aware of how same set of data can be dissected in few different ways and how that can lead to totally different conclusions. Genetics data, like data from other disciplines (irrespective of what researchers claim), is not interpreted in isolation but very much in the context of inferences (right or wrong) drawn from other disciplines.

      Already my response is long. So I will stop.

      Hope this helps.

      • Dear Nileshji,
        Thanks. I have read some papers by Lalji Singh etc. Tumhi long nahi agdi crisp uttar dila ahe…Thanks…

  2. Thank you, Rohit.

    It is my experience that ‘passion’ coupled with ‘Prajna’ and ‘luck/blessings’ can allow one to be expert in any subject in a very short amount of time. I have dabbled in the following areas (either due to nature of my studies, profession or interest) – ‘Sleep science’, ‘nutrition’, ‘naturopathy’, ‘astronomy’ ‘Statistics/DOE/Robust designs/ Statistical Tolerancing’, ‘statistical thermodynamics – I even have few esoteric corroborations to my name 🙂 in nano-technology and on theories of neutral solvents’, geology, anthropology, QM, on and on.

    I choose, deliberately, and in spite of all temptations, to restrict myself to few subjects. This is because otherwise production of new knowledge will not take place. On a side bar, I have some 30+ books in the ‘idea/draft’ stage on the single subject of ‘Astronomy’ alone, all of them in the context of ancient Indian history. I am practical enough to know that one lifetime may not be enough! 🙂

    • Baap Re… I have not even heard of some of the terms you mention!!!
      But yes, you are right…even this AIT etc. is not my field but my interests brought me here…
      Good Luck to you, Sir… 😀

      • Are you on FB?

        Genetics papers, in general but especially in the context of India (and most of them will have India as a context.. for a good reason) are never purely genetics based. Always! Always! go through the reference list and tie each specific reference to inferences/conclusions drawn in the main article.

        You will see linguistics and archeology nonsense of yesteryears (say last 300+ years) brought in, invariably, to infer what present genetics data (present with respect to specific paper) is ‘supposedly’ telling us. That is when most dogmatic and/or ridiculous conclusions are drawn.

        Hence the need to go 20 levels deeper.

        Nilesh

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