Monday, January 23, 2017

Another amateur claiming to have proof of the AIT, by the loquacious amateur Shoaib Daniyal, sent to me just now.

With my reply below, dd. 23 Ja. 2017:

"Dear Mrs./Mr. Editor,

 "While I don’t much mind an ignorant pen-pusher pontificating about the Aryan invasion debate, some concomitant modesty would at least be in order. Ridiculing any scepticism about the 19th-century Aryan invasion theory (AIT) merely shows that he is quite unaware of the state of the art.

"So he equates the rivalling Out-of-India Theory (OIT) with Flat Earth and Creationism. But it is very easy to find material evidence against both the latter, such as the fossil record. By contrast, your contributor is quite unable to muster any evidence against the OIT. Even Harvard professor and AIT champion Michael Witzel admits that no material evidence of Aryans moving into India has been found “yet”, i.e. after two centuries of being the official hypothesis sucking up all the sponsoring. So your correspondent thinks himself superior, successful where the greatest specialists have failed?

"A year ago I was participating in a Delhi conference on the Sindhu-Saraswati Civilization. While there, I received an e-mail from one of the world’s foremost specialists on the linguistic aspect of Indo-European origins, HH Hock, all the way from the US. Predictably, he upheld the now-dominant invasion scenario and added that no one takes the Out-of-India Theory seriously today (though it was the dominant assumption from 1786 till ca. 1820). Among linguists, this is approximately true: Nicolas Kazanas, Shrikant Talageri and myself have been in splendid isolation in those circles. But then, linguists who can competently argue in favour of the AIT are hardly more numerous. As I have verified at several specialist conferences, most concerned linguists don’t work on the problem of the origins, which has an aura of obsoleteness, and blindly follow the dominant theory because it happens to be what their textbooks contained. Which is what non-linguists like the cited team from Auckland also do.

"However, while I read this e-mail, I was surrounded by the creamy layer of Indian archaeology. Each professor read his paper presenting the findings at a particular Harappan site where he was digging, and each of them reported a complete cultural continuity, no trace of an invasion. Sitting next to me was the dean of Indian archaeology, the nonagenarian professor BB Lal. When he was young,  he made his name by “proving” that the archaeologically attested Painted Grey Ware indicated the Aryans on their way into India. That “proof” is still cited till today in favour of the AIT, at least in India. But in reality, Lal himself has renounced that hypothesis decades ago, realizing that his posited link with Aryan invaders was itself based on a tacit acceptance of the omnipresent AIT. Today he emphasizes that there is no trace at all of any Aryan invasion.

"You choose to poison the debate by insinuating a Hitler reference into it. Suit yourself, but again it proves your ignorance, for Hitler was a zealous follower of the AIT. If the OIT has been associated with Hindutva (wrongly, for VD Savarkar, who launched this political concept, was an AIT believer), its alleged political use is at any rate only a trifle compared to the AIT. The OIT has been upheld mostly in one country for a few decades by a few scholars without any political power. By contrast, the AIT has been used politically for some 160 years by major state actors such as the British empire and Nazi Germany, and in India by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Ambedkarites (though BR Ambedkar himself emphatically rejected it), the Dravidianists, the missionaries and of course the secularists. If you don’t like the mixing of scholarship with politics, you should first of all  lambast the AIT, not the OIT.

"May Allah (or Whoever serves as God to you secularists) give you the wisdom to keep your mouth shut on topics you don’t know enough about.

"Yours sincerely,

"Dr. Koenraad Elst"


Vraja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vraja said...

A point of clarification for something you said about evolution vis-à-vis the "fossil record." Charles Darwin wrote of the fossil record as the main problem to his theory:

"Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life? We meet with no such evidence, and this is the most obvious and forcible of the many objections which may be urged against my theory. Why, again, do whole groups of allied species appear, though certainly they often falsely appear, to have come in suddenly on the several geological stages? Why do we not find great piles of strata beneath the Silurian system, stored with the remains of the progenitors of the Silurian groups of fossils? For certainly on my theory such strata must somewhere have been deposited at these ancient and utterly unknown epochs in the world's history."

Famous paleontologist Stephen J. Gould created a new theory of evolution (Punctuated Equilibrium) for why the fossil record still doesn't support Darwinian evolution, from his book "Evolution's Erratic Pace" (1977):

"The history of most fossil species include two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism:

1) Stasis - most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless;

2) Sudden appearance - in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and 'fully formed'."

And from famous paleontologist Niles Eldredge and famous paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall:

"The main impetus for expanding the view that species are discrete at any one point in time, to embrace their entire history, comes from the fossil record. Paleontologists just were not seeing the expected changes in their fossils as they pursued them up through the rock record. Instead, collections of nearly identical specimens, separated in some cases by 5 million years, suggested that the overwhelming majority of animal and plant species were tremendously conservative throughout their histories.

That individual kinds of fossils remain recognizably the same throughout the length of their occurrence in the fossil record had been known to paleontologists long before Darwin published his Origin. Darwin himself, troubled by the stubbornness of the fossil record in refusing to yield abundant examples of gradual change, devoted two chapters to the fossil record. To preserve his argument he was forced to assert that the fossil record was too incomplete, to full of gaps, to produce the expected patterns of change. He prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these gaps by diligent search and then his major thesis - that evolutionary change is gradual and progressive - would be vindicated. One hundred and twenty years of paleontological research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will not confirm this part of Darwin's predictions. Nor is the problem a miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction is wrong.

The observation that species are amazingly conservative and static entities throughout long periods of time has all the qualities of the emperor's new clothes: everyone knew it but preferred to ignore it. Paleontologists, faced with a recalcitrant record obstinately refusing to yield Darwin's predicted pattern, simply looked the other way. Rather than challenge well-entrenched evolutionary theory, paleontologists tacitly agreed with their zoological colleagues that the fossil record was too poor to do much beyond supporting, in a general sort of way, the basic thesis that life had evolved."

The myths of human evolution. By N. Eldredge and I. Tattersall. New York: Columbia University Press. 1982.

MCFAN said...

Dear Mr Elst
Recent exacavations of Harrapan site of Rakhigarhi,Hariyana have yieled 7500 years old human skelatal remains of its inhabitents,dna analysis has revealed that it matches those of its current inhabitents.
It proves that the site has been continuously occupied by the same racial group of people who are present days Hindus cutting across all casts.
I am not an expert but wonder if this finding disproves the AIT.
I would request you to persue this lead on the puzzle of who the original inhabitents of this great nation are how far back does antiquity of Hindu civilisation go.
'Descendants of Harappans still living in Rakhigarhi' - The Times of India -

I am giving abovethe link for the news

Meena Mink said...

You are right. AIT has been a political tool and continue to be political tool. Ideally, after Independence govt should have discarded colonial education system and formed a research organization to formulate our history. But, alas Nehru himself had dubious intention and his friends Azad who was our first education minister, although an intellectual but core Islamist. I was shocked to read how he sent muslim to fight for caliphate in Turkey. He was a believer of Caliphate and the rule of sword by Muslims. He had said some not so good things about Polytheiests(Hindus). After Independence, he didn't go to Pakistan because he was gutted to think how Muslims can leave the mughali veerasat. No wonder, he not only used AIT but distorted history to maximum. Today, the commies and Islamists so vehemently oppose any argument opposing AYT, proves that they want this theory to be kept alive not for academic regions for sure.

Hari Smith said...

A little on 'flat Earth' or how different interpretation can change perspective on the topic in question:

From a local perspective of a person looking at a large area of land or sea, there is an impression of flatness, thus it wouldn't be inaccurate to speak of a flat Earth in this sense.

From scientific research we get data like: 'The mean height of land above sea level is 840 m', '71% of Earth's surface is covered with water', thus the mean height of the Earth's surface is roughly merely around 244 m above sea level, which, when compared to the the Equator (40.000 km), represents only about 0,00061% of its length, thus it wouldn't be inaccurate to speak of a flat Earth in this sense.

The Earth's surface is roughly a sphere (a closed 2-dimensional surface), which could be called flat as it does not have a 3rd dimension, or depending on the definition, this 3rd dimension is again very small or miniscule compared to the other 2 available dimensions of latitude and longitude. This may apply even if we included all the Earth's topography, when viewing the surface as a membrane or skin stretched over its body.

So the question of 'flat Earth' may at least partially rest on a confusion between the 3-dimensional Earth and its 2-dimensional surface.

The Earth as a materialistic object offers little depth in spiritual terms, thus it may viewed as flat in this sense as well.

On the topic of evolution:

Evolution is commonly considered as a continuous improvement of a species. Since every species tends to adapt to the surrounding environmental conditions (and vice versa), this observation would confirm the aim of improving the species regarding the environment. This applies to human desires as well, they tend to be aimed at improving one's position or experiences in life. Knowledge and experience in life are also an improvement over a previous position.

Spiritually, one's level of spirituality gets improved in the long run, even if temporary drops throughout time may appear, thus evolution in terms of improvement works on the spiritual level as well.

Evolution may serve as an atheist's equivalent of divine intervention in terms of improvement. It may serve as common grounds for cooperation between people of substantially different views on spirituality. After all, common human interests will prevail 'in the end', though the majority of humans are only vaguely aware of what those interests are.

The above may apply well for our current age, though interpretation changes depending on the observed age or Yuga.

KE QUOTE: "May Allah (or Whoever serves as God to you secularists) give you the wisdom to keep your mouth shut on topics you don’t know enough about."

How much knowledge on a topic is enough?

God already gives you the aforementioned wisdom via your own thoughts/ideas/words, as you decide to speak on topics that have a certain relevance to you, where you presume that your personal input is relevant to the topic or a part of it and that it would aid the discussion in some way you consider important enough to mention - this wisdom is aligned with your own level of spirituality, your level is reflected through your words (and any other deeds).