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Astrology in university education – twenty years after

Saturday, September 11th, 2021

(Note: The following article speaks the truth, instead of taking sides. However, the Indian media being totally polarised, I could not publish the article in either English or Hindi. Hence, am now posting it on my blog, since I feel it is important for me to take a stand on the matter.)

Astrology is a superstition, but why are the colonised unwilling to admit that Johannes Kepler was a superstitious astrologer, who got his livelihood from astrology, and wrote in praise of astrology.  And what of Isaac Newton who superstitiously believed in Biblical creationism and apocalypse. His superstitions rubbed off into science and math as in the “eternal laws of nature”, not to mention his superstitions about the Indian calculus, all of which church superstition we happily teach in schools today.  But there is no outrage among the colonised who blindly accept all church superstitions in mathematics and science. That is exactly why it was the church which brought Western ethnoscience and Western ethnomath to the colonised in general and to India in particular. The real issue is about Western dominance, not science vs superstition.

The Indira Gandhi National Open University recently introduced a postgraduate course in astrology. A similar issue had arisen twenty years ago when the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced a scheme to open 16 university departments, to teach astrology across the country, in 2001. This was hugely opposed, and the late Kapila Vatsyayana organized a public debate, between scientists and astrologers, in the India International Centre, on the desirability of astrology in university education. The late Pushpa Bhargava, Raja Ramanna and I represented scientists. But the astrologers ran away from the debate, though I did later discuss this issue publicly with some other astrologers in other forums. The UGC eventually scrapped the scheme. However, some clarifications given 20 years ago are still relevant.

First, the term “jyotish”, which means time-keeping (through astronomy), is wrongly confounded with astrology (called “phalit jyotish”). The earlier UGC scheme was announced as pertaining to Vedic astrology. However, there is no mention of astrology in the Veda-s. Then, at the India International Centre, I had challenged the assembled scholars, in front of the international press, to show me a single sentence on astrology in the core text of Vedanga Jyotish.1 No one could do so, and some started asking for my copy of the Vedanga Jyotish, which they had obviously never seen before. The Vedanga Jyotishe is a manual of timekeeping, completely disjoint from astrology.

Indians persistently separated astronomy from astrology, which separation is not limited to the Vedanga Jyotish, last updated around -1500 CE. Thus, Nilakantha’s commentary on the Aryabhatiya is dated to +1500 CE.2 During this 3000 year period, there were numerous books written on astronomy in India. These included the Surya Siddhanta, the Aryabhatiya, the Laghu and Maha Bhaskariya of Bhaskar 1, the Brahmasphutasiddhanta of Brahmagupta, the Shishyadhivrddhida of Lalla, Vateshwar Siddhanta, and Gola, Tantrasangraha, Yuktidipika, etc. In none of these books do we find a single sentence related to astrology. The beginning of astrology in India is credited to the 6th c. Varahamihira, and his Brihat samhita, but even Varahamihira’s astronomy book Pancasiddhantika does not have a single sentence on astrology.

However the colonially educated are deluded that jyotish means astrology. The same colonial education also impacts nationalists. Hence, they repeatedly return to the claim that astrology was an important aspect of Indian tradition since Vedic times. Twenty years ago, Pushpa Bhargava had challenged the teaching of astrology in the Madras High Court. In response, the UGC had said that astrology was an important aspect of ancient Indian tradition, a claim happily accepted by the judge (Kalifulla J.) Nobody asked for evidence that astrology was a significant part of Indian tradition, and nobody offered it.

To the contrary, the Buddha explained3 that common people praise him because he does not earn a livelihood by the unethical means of predicting uncertain future events, such as predicting the victory or defeat of kings in a war, or predicting good or bad rainfall. This was not any specifically Buddhist ethics, since it was the common people (then pre-Buddhist Hindus) who praised the Buddha thus.

In contrast, the West traditionally believed in prophecy. Herodotus4 begins his History with the story of Croesus, from Lydia (Turkey), who first made Ionian Greeks his vassals. Before fighting the Persians, Croesus checked the outcome with the Oracle of Delphi. “A great empire will fall” was the prophecy. Unsure about which Empire would fall, Croesus again sent an emissary to ask how long his own rule would last. “Until a mule rules the Medes (Persia)”. Croesus thought that hardly likely and battled Cyrus the Great and lost. The prophecy was then explained that Cyrus  was the mule since he was of mixed descent. Of course, had the outcome been different, there would have been no need for an explanation. This illustrates how foretelling the future was traditionally based on subtle con-tricks.

Prophets were given a very high religious status in the West. Hence, during the Crusades, the church tried to put down Muslims by the criticism that Paigambar Muhammad made no prophecy. Unfortunately, the strange response of Muslims to this critique has been to translate Paigambar (meaning messenger) as Prophet!

Traditional Western superstitions did not magically disappear with the advent of science. Johannes Kepler, famous for his “laws” of planetary motion, wrote on the fundamentals of astrology.5 Before he grabbed the high church position of Astronomer Royal to the Holy Roman Empire, Kepler was a practising astrologer, and he wrote that providing astrology as a means of livelihood to astronomers was proof the of pre-established harmony created by God!

Even Isaac Newton superstitiously believed in Biblical creation, some 6000 years ago. He explicitly used it to deny the antiquity of Egypt.6 He also believed the Bible correctly foretold the future apocalypse of the world at the “seventh trumpet”.7 Indeed, belief in prophecy, or the belief that the future can be foretold, persists in the scientific belief in the mechanistic evolution of the world according to some “eternal laws of nature”. This belief in “eternal laws of nature” is a Christian dogma first propounded by Thomas Aquinas.8 This dogma, is not, for example, acceptable in Buddhism,9 or Islam,10 or Hinduism.11

But, both Newton and Kepler believed in this dogma, and we teach it in our schools today.12 This dogma asserts that the future is determined and predictable by the knowledgeable, like prophets and Laplace’s demon. (On Karl Popper’s formulation, Laplace’s demon is a super-scientist, who knows all the laws of nature, a super-observer, and a super-computer, who can hence calculate the future.13) Of course, no one knows how the “laws of nature” or equations of physics (supposedly) causally determine human actions, any more than anyone knows how planets determine human actions. So, the difference between the demon and astrology is a matter of technique, not of principle.

The colonially educated believe Indians were especially superstitious. But the experimental method was used in India, long before Bacon,14 and many traditional Indian astronomers spoke out against superstition. For example, it is said that Indians believed that Rahu  and Ketu are the cause of eclipses. This myth is undoubtedly found in the Purana-s. However, the eighth century Lalla titled the 20th chapter of his Sisyadhivrdhida15 as the “Correction of mythical knowledge”. Here he gives several arguments why demons such as Rahu, cannot be the cause of an eclipse. In the 26th sloka he says “In a solar eclipse, people in different parts (of the earth) see different portions of the Sun eclipsed. Some do not see (the eclipse) at all. Knowing this, who can maintain that an eclipse is caused by Rahu?” Further, Lalla (20:22) asks why eclipses occur only near the full moon or new-moon. In contrast, the Bible (Luke 23:44-45) states the superstition that God caused a solar eclipse at noon on the crucifixion of Jesus, which is impossible, because Easter, or the supposed date of resurrection of Jesus, is linked to the full moon when a solar eclipse is impossible. Before the 19th c., which Western astronomer rejected this Biblical assertion as a superstition?

The conclusion is that scientific thinking is a much older part of Indian tradition than astrology which was probably imported in the 6th c., and true nationalists ought to encourage that older tradition. On the other hand, church superstitions still flourish in science (and math) and the tail-wagging colonised who believe science is a matter of Western approval, not critical thinking, need to understand that.

1K. V. Sarma, ed., Vedanga Jyotisa of Lagadh, trans. & notes T. S. Kupanna Sastri (New Delhi: INSA, 1985).

2K. Sambasiva Sastri, ed., Aryabhatiya of Aryabhatacarya with the Bhasya of Nılakanthasomasutvan (University of Kerala, Trivandrum, 1930).

3Maurice Walshe, trans., Digha Nikaya: Long Discourses of the Buddha (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995), 68–72 Brahmajala sutta, section on Mahashila.

4Herodotus, The History, trans. G. C. Macaulay, n.d., https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2707/2707-h/2707-h.htm.

5J. Bruce Brackenridge and Mary Ann Rossi, ‘Johannes Kepler’s on the More Certain Fundamentals of Astrology Prague 1601’, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 123, no. 2 (1979): 85–116.

6Isaac Newton, “Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms amended”, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/15784/15784-h/15784-h.htm#chapII.

7C. K. Raju, The Eleven Pictures of Time: The Physics, Philosophy and Politics of Time Beliefs (Sage, 2003) chp. 4, ‘Newton’s time’.

8Thomas Aquinas, Sumnma Theologica, First part of the second part, 91,1, n.d., http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2091.htm.

9C. K. Raju, ‘Buddhism and Science’, 2016, https://youtu.be/SkS1HM6g0O4, a conversation with the Dalai Lama.

10C. K. Raju, ‘Islam and Science’, keynote address, in Islam and Multiculturalism: Islam, Modern Science, and Technology, ed. Asia-Europe Institute University of Malaya and Japan Organization for Islamic Area Studies Waseda University, 2013, 1–14, http://ckraju.net/hps-aiu/Islam-and-Science-kl-paper.pdf.

11Minutes of a meeting in the University Sains Malaysia, 2011, to discuss whether the belief in “laws of nature” should be part of a course in the philosophy of science. http://ckraju.net/usm/PSc-minutes.html.

12See, e.g., the 2021-22 NCERT text on science for class IX, chp. 10, p. 133. http://ckraju.net/papers/presentations/images/NCERT-class-IX-science-chp-10..pdf

13For Laplace’s demon see C. K. Raju, Time: Towards a Consistent Theory (Springer, 1994).

15For a general account, see “Indians against superstition”, extract from “Proofs and Refutations in Mathematics and Physics: an Indian Perspective”, in History of Science and Philosophy of Science, ed., P. K. Sengupta, Pearson Longman, 2012. For the original source see Lalla, ‘शिष्यधीवृद्धिद’, ed. Bina Chatterjee (Delhi: Indian National Science Academy, 1981).

“Euclid” must fall: racism, the church, and the axiomatic method (collected resources)

Friday, July 2nd, 2021

(Keynote Tübingen/Pretoria 13 May 2021. Related articles now online.)

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAP1BcK8mLE

Presentation: http://ckraju.net/papers/presentations/Euclid-must-fall.html

Articles:

Part 1: Racist prejudice and the false history of “Greek” achievements in math and science

Abstract.To eliminate racist prejudices, it is necessary to identify the root cause(s) of racism. American slavery preceded racism, and was closely associated with genocide. Accordingly, we seek the unique cause of the unique event of genocide + slavery. This was initially justified by religious prejudice, rather than colour prejudice. This religious justification was weakened when many Blacks converted to Christianity, after the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The curse of Kam, using quick visual cues to characterize Blacks as inferior Christians, was inadequate. Hence, the church fell back on an ancient trick of using false history as secular justification for Christian superiority. This trick had resulted in a false history of science during the Crusades when scientific knowledge in translated Arabic texts was indiscriminately attributed to the early Greeks, without evidence. This false history enabled belief in religious superiority to mutate into a secular belief in White superiority. After colonialism, and the Aryan race conjecture, the belief in White superiority further mutated into a belief in Western civilizational superiority, openly propagated today by colonial education. Hence, to eliminate racist prejudice, it is necessary to engage simultaneously with the allied prejudices about Christian/White/Western superiority, based on the same false history of science.

Full article at: http://ckraju.net/papers/Tubingen-Pretoria-part-1.pdf

Part 2: The practical failure (and political success) of the axiomatic method (or the church understanding of reason) in math

Abstract. Previously we saw that racist prejudice is supported by false history. The false history of the Greek origins of mathematics is reinforced by a bad philosophy of mathematics. There is no evidence for the existence of Euclid. The “Euclid” book does not contain a single axiomatic proof, as was exposed over a century ago. Such was never the intention of the actual author. The book was brazenly reinterpreted, since axiomatic proof was a church political requirement, and used in church rational theology adopted during the Crusades, as a counter to Islamic rational theology. Deductive proofs are MORE fallible than inductive or empirical proofs. Even a validly proved mathematical theorem, such as the “Pythagorean” theorem (based on Hilbert’s axioms, say), is invalid knowledge in the real world. There is no concept of approximate truth in formal mathematics. Nevertheless, the myth of “superior” axiomatic proofs in the “Euclid” book continues to be reiterated by Western historians, and colonial education teaches axiomatic mathematics. Actually, superior practical value comes from the two “Pythagorean” calculations well known to Indian/Egyptian tradition, but unknown to Greeks. The advantage of related decolonized courses in mathematics has been pedagogically demonstrated. But understanding and political will is needed to change colonial/church education.

Full article at: http://ckraju.net/papers/Tubingen-Pretoria-part-2.pdf

Alternative to current school teaching of Christian chauvinist “Euclid’s” geometry

“Euclidean’ geometry vs Rajju ganita” Bengaluru, 5, 6 June 2021)

Details of workshop: http://ckraju.net/blog/?p=200

Prior reading list: http://ckraju.net/geometry/Reading-list-geometry-rev.pdf.

Presentations: Day 1, Day 2 (space bar moves to the next slide)

Videos: Day 1, Day 2 (2:45:55, and 2:55:59)

School text for class IX: http://ckraju.net/geometry/Rajju%20Ganita%20cover-front-back-r.pdf

See also, Euclid and Jesus: How and why the church changed mathematics and Christianity across two religious wars, Multiversity, Penang, 2012.

Twitter war re Nilesh Oak

Friday, June 18th, 2021

Several people have written to me regarding a twitter war being waged between Nilesh Oak and a CK Raju.

As I am not on twitter, I asked someone else to ascertain. The debate relates to the comments on a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWH4nTlbpjk.

Clicking on the comments on that video by CK Raju leads to this Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLMba_JsUi9rei355dWrMvg.

This is NOT my Youtube channel which is in the name of Dr C. K. Raju: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzwN5fTQxA856Cu8qUnAmcA.

Below is my response to one such email that I received:

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“Euclidean” Geometry vs Rajju Ganita

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

All the lies and obscurities of “Euclidean” geometry, as taught in the NCERT class VI, IX, and X school texts, stand exposed in these presentations and videos of the workshop held on 5 and 6 June 2021.

Presentations: Day 1, Day 2 (space bar moves to the next slide)

Videos: Day 1, Day 2 (2:45:55, and 2:55:59)

Both “Euclid” and the related philosophy of “superior” axiomatic proof are just a church fraud concocted during the religious fanaticism of the Crusades, to provide support for Christian theology of “reason” set up by Aquinas and the schoolmen.

Sad that Indians have been fooled for 2 centuries, and refuse to think. This incapacity is a design objective of colonial/church education. Sad that the top formal mathematician in the country and abroad are running away from public debate in the manner of fraudulent astrologers: they have no concern for truth or for the future of children.

Rajju Ganita or traditional Indian/African string geometry is so much better.

Rajju ganita cover

“Euclid” must fall

Friday, May 14th, 2021

To access the presentation for my zoom talk on ‘”Euclid” must fall’, described in the previous post, click the image below.
Euclid fallen

A video of the recording premieres on 23 May 2021 at 12 noon IST.

Logic and Aristotle

Sunday, June 7th, 2020
The church state nexus led to an enormous amount of false history, for the priest ruled with the help of lies.
During the Crusades the church adopted reason (not much mention of it in the Bible).  The Crusades (after the first) were military failures, therefore, the church adopted reason, as an artifice to be able to convert Muslims, and grab their wealth.
The church actually learned about reason from Muslims, particularly Ibn Rushd (Averroes, whose books were used as texts in Western universities for centuries). Ibn Rushd speaks only of “the philosopher”, but the priests spread the lie that this “philosopher” was “Aristotle”, an early Greek hence “friend of the church”, like the non-existent Euclid. This lie was essential to portray “Aristotle” as theologically correct and enable the church to adopt reason.  (Islamic thinkers routinely conflated “Neoplatonic” or sufi philosophers like Plotinus, and Proclus with “Arasto”, and valued the “theology of Aristotle” (or “paganism”), contrary to church dogmas.)
At any rate, Christian priests spread the falsehood that logic began with Aristotle (the way they spread the falsehood that math began with Euclid). To highlight the confusion involved, I have separated the fabricated 12th c. “Aristotle of Toledo” from the historical “Aristotle of Stagira”, Alexander’s tutor and possible recipient of the books that Alexander looted from Persia and Egypt, and got translated into Greek.The story that the Arabic books at Toledo originated from early Greece is a church and racist lie for which there is no evidence.
For any knowledge to develop, the social conditions must be there, and the social conditions provide evidence to the contrary. Indeed, there was no tradition among early Greeks of any long debates, so no need for anyone to develop a syllogism. Aristotle, like Socrates, risked being condemned to death: the usual early Greek way of settling an argument. In contrast, in India there were fierce debates between Buddhist and Jains, or Buddhists and Naiyayikas etc. In India, people debated with each other to establish truth, and did not simply kill their opponents in the manner of early Greeks and the medieval church. Because of these social conditions, all Indian schools developed elaborate syllogisms to put their point across effectively.
Now, “Aristotle of Toledo”, i.e., Arabic literature in the 12th c., comes long after the spread of Indian knowledge to Arabs, in the 8th c. Hence, I have repeatedly pointed out possible Indian inputs to that knowledge in Arabic texts wildly attributed to early Greeks by dishonest church and racist historians (e.g. in astronomy and “trigonometry”). In 2008, in an essay on logic for an encyclopedia (see reference below), I argued that the Indian Nyaya syllogism could have been similarly mis-attributed to Aristotle (the Jain and Buddhist syllogisms were different).
Why did people believe the foolish stories told by church priests, without checking them? Because they were indoctrinated to trust only what the priest had approved. Likewise, the colonised mind never checks the facts, and only believes what is endorsed by the West: that is it should be mixed with appropriate falsehoods to preserve the falsehoods earlier told by the West.
Not able to stick to the silly story that logic originated with Aristotle, the West has now taken up the task of falsifying my critique by playing some more with history. The email reproduced below tells the story. I am reproducing it publicly since these fellows did not have the courtesy to respond to it so they may quite possibly have an underlying church or racist agenda to preserve false history.
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Greediots and Pythagoras. 3: Was Euclid a black woman?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

My point in part 1 and part 2 of this post was that there were no axiomatic proofs among Greeks, and that the cult of Pythagoreans as also the book Elements were both concerned with religious beliefs about the soul linked to geometry. The church reinterpreted the book Elements, to suit its politics. Church education then spread the ridiculous false belief that Euclid’s” book was somehow allied to its theology of reason, which used faith-based reasoning. Colonial education spread these beliefs far and wide.

But the church was hardly the only culprit. Following in the footsteps of the church, this technique of using false history for self-glorification and denigrating the other was later picked up by racist historians.

As a result, our current class IX school text poisons the minds of young children by showing them a racist image of a white-skinned Euclid as does Wikipedia a partner in the crime of racist propaganda.. There is no evidence for even the existence of Euclid (my prize of Rs 2 lakhs for serious evidence about Euclid is still open after a decade) so how did these Greediots know the color of Euclid’s skin? But Greediots will be Greediots!

I shook this equilibrium by arguing to the contrary that the author of the Elements was a black woman as depicted on the cover of my book Euclid and Jesus. Curiously, because of childhood indoctrination, people ask for “evidence” only when one speaks of black skin; these are the very same people who, as children, never asked for evidence and never objected to the depiction of Euclid as white-skinned without the slightest evidence.

Anyway, what is my evidence? How exactly do I know the gender or skin color of the author? Well, all Greek manuscripts of the Elements describe the book Elements as authored by Theon or based on his lectures. (Euclid is never mentioned as the author in any Greek manuscript or commentary, one more nail in the coffin of utterly Greediotic history.) Theon was the last librarian of the Library of Alexandria before it was burnt down by rampaging Christian mobs. Proclus a short while later writes a commentary on the Elements. So, the real author of the Elements must be between Theon and Proclus. (The subject of Egyptian mystery geometry, of course, existed from long before, we are speaking of the author of a particular book on the subject, the Elements.) That leaves Theon’s daughter as the most likely author of the Elements. This is, of course, some 800 years after the purported date of Euclid, and in vastly different social circumstances.

This belief in the gender of the author is further corroborated by the fact that Greek commentaries speak anonymously of “the author of the Elements”, though they mention all others from Aristophanes to Zeno by name. Why the anonymity? Obvious: none else is a woman, and we know that Christians regard women as inferior, and never accepted a woman as a pope. This anonymity further suggests that something terrible happened to the author. Indeed, as is well known Hypatia was raped and brutally killed on the altar of a church.

As the last event demonstrates, changing the author (hence the date) changes the social circumstances. That naturally does change our understanding of the book: a book written in another time and another place would have different motivations.

In accord with Proclus’ stated understanding of the Elements as a religious text intended to arouse the soul, Hypatia was trying to defend her pagan beliefs about the soul through geometry. But this was at a time when those pagan beliefs about the soul were under vicious attack by the church which had demolished every last pagan temple in the Roman empire. Hypatia hence aroused the ire of the church. This atrocious hate crime by a Christian mob led by a hate-mongering bishop was no local rivalry as church apologists maintain: it was part of a dirty religious war waged by Christians against pagans, the first religious war known to mankind.

And how do I know the color of her skin? Well, I go by the standard of “balance of probabilities” for history. The author of the Elements (i.e., Theon’s daughter the 5th c. Hypatia) was from Alexandria in Egypt which is part of the African continent. So, black is the default skin color until proved otherwise. Go ahead, produce contrary evidence for the skin color of the author from the text and I will change my views, provided the remark is not an obviously forged one. And if you can’t produce the evidence for the skin color of the author (and no one has for so many centuries) then accept that I am right. Accept that the depiction of Euclid as a white man is false racist propaganda carried on for centuries.

My reasoning about the author as a black woman writing to defend her religious beliefs is certainly far better than the mere myth that the author was a white male, or the contra-factual claim that the book is about axiomatic proofs, a belief so politically convenient to the Crusading church that it adopted the Elements as a text book to teach faith-based (axiomatic) reasoning to its priests.

At this stage there are those who will jump up to say, as a person did after my talk, that skin color (or gender) of the author does not matter. First the real author does matter, because changing the author changes our understanding of the book from a book about axiomatic proofs to a semi-religious text of little practical importance. But the skin color of the author also matters: else why did my article on “Was Euclid a black woman?” create such a storm in South Africa? Tens of thousands of people found it interesting, therefore it was reproduced worldwide. But then the South Africa editor of the Conversation censored it: she wanted to preserve the false myths of white achievements in math. She exercised her editorial authority to censor it. On the system of blind faith in editorial wisdom, the article was censored worldwide (e.g. by Scroll in India). Why censor it if the skin color really does not matter? (See, Mathematics and censorship.)

At this stage, when racists ;have no arguments to offer, they resort to the church technique of vilification: this requires no academic skill, any dog can bark. The racist press in South Africa and the related church reports in US called me a “conspiracy theorist”. Obviously, their greatest and best formal mathematicians can think of nothing better to do than to serially plagiarise my work. (See this blog on Plagiarism by the President of the Royal Society.) This racist slur of “conspiracy theory” was repeatedly used by another participant in the Shimla round table, as an acknowledgment of his lack of academic skills All the above arguments are a conspiracy theory aren’t they?

And (if skin color really does not matter) are Greediots willing to change the image of “Euclid” children see in our school texts from a white man to a black woman? Will they even try changing it in Wikipedia which is supposedly open to change? Will they openly admit there is no evidence for the white skin of the author of the Elements as they have been falsely peddling for centuries? Like the worm turning, could they even add a comment in Wikipedia about the existence of different opinions? No way! Actions speak louder than words. If skin color really does not matter, don’t just say it, show it with your actions! And if you don’t we know what your true beliefs are for we judge by actions!

The trick to spread these Greediotic and racist lies is to use childhood indoctrination, through education, and reinforce it by propagandist and racist instruments like Wikipedia. Greediots everywhere, evidence nowhere.

Greediots and Pythagoras. 2: How church/colonial education spreads false myths

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

As pointed out in the previous blog entry, there are, in fact, no axiomatic proofs in Greek math. But there is a widespread and sticky belief to that effect.

Why is this false belief about axiomatic proofs among Greeks so widespread and sticky? In fact, Western/church education spread the false myth.

Cambridge foolishness

Thus, on (1) that false myth of axiomatic proofs among Greeks, linked to (2) the false myth about the person Euclid and his intentions, (3) the order of theorems in the Elements was regarded as very important, and the key contribution made by “Euclid”.

This third myth was so important that the Cambridge Board of Studies foolishly laid down in its exam rules in the 1880’s that students must follow that order. This Cambridge foolishness is extraordinary because the Cambridge syndics commissioned a new text, which liberally uses empirical proofs, including, of course, the empirical proof of SAS (Side angle Side or proposition 4). Order is unimportant once an empirical proof is used: for instance the Indian proof of the “Pythagorean theorem” in the युक्तिभाषा proves the theorem in one simple step, without needing 46 earlier propositions.

The Cambridge foolishness in insisting on the order of the propositions, while using a text which gives empirical proofs tells us how the education system propagates Greediotic myths for centuries, and teaches students to ignore facts.

Church hegemony over the Western mind

Even Bertrand Russell, as a product of Cambridge, continued to believe in the “Euclid” myth of axiomatic proofs, though he realized the myth did not fit the actual book. He foolishly declared it to be Euclid’s error and not the error of the false myth of Euclid and his intentions!

That is the effect of the church control over the Western education system, and consequent hegemony over the Western mind, including the minds of those opposed to the church. This church “education” from Cambridge widely spreads myths and superstitions, which were then globalised by colonial education. It created “Greediots, Greediots everywhere and not a stop to think”.

A politically convenient reinterpretation

As Proclus explains (and the reason why he wrote his Commentary on the Elements), the Elements is a “pagan” religious text, i.e. a text on Egyptian mystery geometry which is meant to arouse the soul, exactly as Plato argued in Meno. The book Elements was never intended to be about axiomatic proofs. How did “Euclid” fit church needs to a T?

The church simply re-interpreted the book to suit its politics of reason. The church was well aware that most people are gullible, because of childhood indoctrination. And such was the fear of the church (not only the Inquisition, but even in England), that the church as well aware that no one would dare to challenge its interpretation. The facts is the no one did so for centuries.

During this time the church used the Elements to teach reasoning to its priests: a special kind of metaphysical reasoning, which suited the church, since its divorced from facts, and involving faith based or axiomatic proofs.
The church monopoly on education, through the “reputed” institutions it set up and controlled, such as Oxford and Cambridge, resulted in spreading this superstition widely among Westerners.

So widely, that when the myth of axiomatic proofs in “Euclid” ultimately collapsed (among the knowledgeable), people like Russell and Hilbert created formal mathematics to save it.

The Pythagorean calculation


Curiously, Greediots and Western historians, intent on glorifying themselves, never ever speak of the “Pythagorean CALCULATION”, though a formal proof of the “Pythagorean proposition” has no practical value, and all practical value derives from the ability to use it to CALCULATE the diagonal of a rectangle whose sides are known.

Western historians are silent about the process of calculation among Greeks. Why? (more…)

Greek history for idiots: Greediots and Pythagoras. 1: No axiomatic proofs in Greek math

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Greek history for idiots: Greediots and Pythagoras.
1: No axiomatic proofs in Greek math

Recently, I presented my talk on “Pre-colonial appropriations of Indian ganita: epistemic issues”. This was at a round table at IIAS Shimla which replaced the now-postponed conference on Indology.

The key point of my talk was that much present-day school math is an inferior sort of math which Europeans appropriated from Indian ganita without fully understanding it, and then returned during colonial times by packaging it with a false history and declaring it superior. A philosophical comparison between ganita and math was done in earlier posts and publications.

This post focuses on the false history aspect, going back to the purported Greek origins of the “Pythagorean theorem”.

False Western claim

Egyptians built massive pyramids very accurately. One would assume that to achieve that marvellous feat of engineering they knew the so-called “Pythagorean theorem”.

But in his book Mathematics in the time of the pharaohs, Richard Gillings speaks of “pyramidiots”: people who claim various sorts of wonderful knowledge is built into the pyramids of Egypt. Gillings’ argues in an appendix (citing the Greek historian Heath) that “nothing in Egyptian mathematics suggests that Egyptians were acquainted with…[even] any special case of the Pythagorean theorem.” Heath adds, “there seems to be no evidence that they [Egyptians] knew [even] that the triangle (3, 4, 5) was right-angled”. The Egyptologist Clagett chips in, “there have been exaggerated claims that Egyptians had knowledge of the Pythagorean theorem which is, of course, a formal Euclidean theorem of the Elements.”

First, Gillings, Heath etc. are not honest enough to add that there is no evidence for Pythagoras. Nor is there any evidence for the claim that he proved any sort of theorem. So, one should rightfully say, “There have been persistent false claims about a Pythagoras having proved a theorem, though there is no evidence that there was any Pythagoras nor any evidence that he proved any theorem.”

Obviously, Western history of Greeks is of very inferior quality, since the tacit norm is that stories about Greeks need no evidence and must be accepted on mere faith in Western authority: it is only stories about others which require evidence!

That is why I use the term Greediots to describe people who fantasize about all sorts of scientific achievements by Greeks without any evidence, starting from the “Pythagorean theorem”: if they can believe in that they can believe anything on their blind faith.

Religious connection of geometry

A key point: not only is there nil evidence for the story of the “Pythagorean theorem”, it is CONTRARY to all available evidence.

The Pythagoreans were a religious cult: their interest was in the connection of geometry to the RELIGIOUS belief in the soul as described by Plato, in Meno, Phaedo, Republic, etc. Anyone can check in two seconds this connection of geometry to the soul by searching for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th occurrence of “soul” in Meno, a primary source for Plato readily available online from the MIT repository. But for Greediots the story of a theorem is what is important: so they don’t and won’t check facts. (Is Plato evidence for Greek thought? If not, why has no one ever explained the grounds for rejecting Plato? And what are the other “reliable” sources, if any, for Greek history? )

Proclus, in his Commentary, explicitly asserts that this religious belief linking geometry to the soul was the sole concern of the Pythagoreans with geometry. But Greediots not only have no evidence for their beliefs, they ignore all the counter-evidence.

As Proclus further explains in his Commentary (on the book Elements today falsely attributed to an unknown “Euclid”) the book does geometry with exactly the same religious concerns. The subtle issue here is to understand Egyptian mystery geometry (and related Greek mathematics) as a sort of meditative discourse which drives the attention inwards and away from the external world.

All this is explained at great length in my book Euclid and Jesus: how and why the church changed mathematics and Christianity across two religious wars, Multiversity, 2012. See the webpage, or look inside. But Greediots will be Greediots they not only have no concern with facts they will not tolerate a counter-narrative or allow any space for it.

No axiomatic proofs in Elements

The interesting thing is how this “virgin-birth history” propagated by Greediots creates false “facts”. Clagett’s claim that “the Pythagorean theorem…is, of course, a formal Euclidean theorem of the Elements” is one such false “fact” which is widely believed.

The real fact is there is no axiomatic or formal proof of the “Pythagorean theorem” in the book Elements of “Euclid”. One has only to read the book; its very first proposition has an empirical proof not an axiomatic one. But just as most people do not read Plato, most people do not read the Elements. They just naively assume that even if the myth about its author as Euclid is false, the myth about the book must be correct. (Ha, Ha, they don’t know how thick are the layers of church lies!)

After centuries, some including Bertrand Russell finally understood the absence of axiomatic proofs in the Elements. What is shocking is for how many centuries Western scholars collectively failed to realize that even the first proposition of the Elements is contrary to the myth of axiomatic proofs in it.

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C. K. Raju writes back-1 Einstein

Saturday, October 26th, 2019

One Aloke Kumar wrote this on twitter about me: https://twitter.com/aalokelab/status/1088870635684556800?lang=en,

He pretends to be a scientist on the strength of his job, but seems more of a twit unable to read or understand my two books on the matter, Time:Towards a Consistent Theory (Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, 1994, chp. 3a Michelson-Morley experiment, and chp. 3b Einstein’s time), and The Eleven Pictures of Time (Sage 20013, chp. 4 In Einstein’s shadow). At any rate neither he nor anyone else, in the past 25 years, ever academically contested my research regarding Einstein. To the contrary the President of the Royal Society, Michael Atiyah endorsed it by plagiarising my thesis about Einstein in his Einstein centenary lecture.

But note Aloke Kumar’s concerns. His concern is not that of a scientist that one should get science or the theory of relativity right. Nor is his concern that of a teacher, that we should teach the truth to our students, not a stupid and false narrative about the Michelson-Morley experiment through school texts in physics. Kumar’s concern is not with ethics, either Einstein’s or Atiyah’s or that of the American Mathematical Society. How could they steal knowledge if they were ethical? Kumar’s key concern is to defend the myth of a plagiarist, Einstein, who is wrongly regarded as a genius. Defend without adding any facts, of course. The sahib’s house slave out to prove his loyalty to the saheb, because that is where the money is.

As pointed out in my second book, Einstein started off by plagiarising  thermodynamics from Boltzmann and Gibbs, claiming he had never heard of them! Einstein never did anything further on statistics, except for the matter of Bose statistics. He didn’t understand probabilities in quantum mechanics.

Some more tweets to establish your authority Kumar? (Easiest way to avoid academic discourse!)