Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keep your children safe from ISIS online recruiters..

In first glance, we may feel, it's a difficult time. You or your family can be a victim of terrorist attack any time, any where. Nobody is immune. No country is safe. Your skin color, wealth, apolitical standing nothing can save you. Only death appears to be more certain than terrorism.

 Unfortunately, when I explored history, I couldn't find a place or time which was safer for humanity for a long time. Yes, there was relative peace and prosperity for a decade but world was always torn by war, skirmishes and genocides.

However,  we are experiencing unprecedented high volume of terrorist attacks globally that is unparallel in world history. Who are those terrorists ? Why do they kill? What do they want?

    This is where ground reality gets far more complex than what most of us love to think - a simple hypothesis of Islam inspired Jihad. Islam does play a critical central role in global terrorism but for that matter if we pump money and arms to any religious extremist group, dis-chanted and disillusioned from harsh reality of society and state politics, terrorists can be manufactured like a factory assembly line.

 Which country suffered mercilessly at the hand of terrorists  more than any of us ? It is country of Colombia. Where even presidents and ministers were not safe and have been killed at will by mafia sponsored terrorism. Pablo Escober, the most notorious nacro terrorist of all the times, literally wiped out Supreme court of Colombia and killed any presidential candidate which vowed to eliminate drug smuggling. What we have seen in Paris and 9/11 is a child's play compared to what Colombians experienced throughout 90s.

From Colombia to Paris, lesson for terrorism remains simple. If there are vested interest groups which can profit from terrorism, and a weak democracy where leaders clasp with that interest group either for vote or money, none can stop growth of terrorism. Why Paris is burning today? Their intelligence agency is admitting they have a potential list of 5000 jihadist but they can't monitor or detain them for political pressure. In India and Bangladesh-situation is worst. These jihadists are needed and wanted by many political parties to secure minority vote bank.

This is where issue of Islam becomes complex and murkier. As a religious text or fundamentals of religion, Islam is no different than other religion. Purported text of violence or Jihad , cited by many from Koran are not exclusive to Islam-it can be found in Bible too.

                   But it is not through religious text, Islam become a dangerous religion. It has become so by not allowing criticism to its religion. Islam is a political system as well. If criticism of Islam is not allowed, all the Muslim majority countries will be governed by Islamic law.  This is where major riddles played out in 20th century. Post colonial modernization movement by Atartuk or Gamal Abdel Nasser have largely failed because Islam has an alternative political system which is contradictory to western liberal democracy.  Clearly to control Middle East, a large number of dictators were supported by the western powers  since democracy was leading to the way of more Islamization and thus medieval barbarism. As it happens in all dictatorial rules, a large section of population have seen their political right  confiscated and thus whole Middle East become larva breeding ground for terrorists. Terrorists are born in middle east like mosquitoes.

    However, at this point, focus is more on home grown terrorism where Muslim youths are radicalized even when they are born in France or USA.  This is probably a very small tiny faction but still a happening and dangerous trend because of their callous immigrant parents who started thinking their children are becoming more pious Muslim!  Least they know their children are being exploited by online ISIS sponsored radicals who are teaching and showing them how their Muslim brothers are suffering in Middle East because of Iraq invasion.  And a religious person without critical thinking is a danger to society. He is religious because he believes in myths of his religion-which are fairly tales.  And if he can be made to believe in fairly tale because he is not rational, he can be made to believe in all kind of stories in which USA is a villain.  And that is where radicalization of Muslim youth is becoming an issue in USA because they are vulnerable to online recruit of ISIS. Only Muslim parents can stop them-they must keep strict vigil on their children if they do not want to bring shame to their family reputation and want their children to be safe.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Whom to blame for Islamic terrorism ?

Incidents of Islamic terrorist attack have gone up from couple of times a month to couple of times a week.  However that didn't change the discourse of debate in social media. Every time such heinous attack shocks us in disbelief ( primarily because we have convinced ourselves that we live in a progressive civilized society and therefore in our Utopian world, barbaric massacre of medieval propensity can't happen any more ), social media splits vertically to defend and accuse faith of Islam.  This blurs and obliviates real masters and fundamentals behind act of terrorism.

     First let's scrutinize whether or not to blame Muslims and Islam for act of terrorism perpetrated by Islamic Jihadist.  There is no doubt terrorists are inspired by their religion.  Debate of whether Islam or Quran sanctions such act of violence is useless one.  Arguments can swing both way since religious texts are weak text and therefore can be interpreted whichever way you want. A comparative study of all religious texts will tell you, all religious texts barring Jainism and Buddhism, do have elements of violence. Bible is more violent than Quran. Therefore correct statement on this matter is perhaps- Yes, Islam is responsible but it is wrong to isolate Islam in this matter. Most of the major religions produced their own version of terrorists historically. Therefore even if Islam is not an unique ideology for terrorism,  principle of Islam, that instills sense of justice does play a big role in psychological mold of the terrorists. It is undeniable. Whether that is right or wrong version of Islam is also immaterial because no religion has correct or incorrect version. All religions by nature is heterogeneous and never practiced uniformly. Therefore this extremist Jihadi version is also very much part of Islam. Similarly, we must acknowledge all religions have their extremist version. It is a different issue that extremist elements of Islam have political sponsors. And that is where, we have a real problem.

  Question is-what is the role of Muslims on this issue of Islamic radicalism. I agree most of them don't support such extreme version of Islam.  Their world view and aspiration is no different than ours.  Unfortunately that kind of thinking will also be naive and oversimplification.

  I will cite a simple example to defend my argument. Aggressive US foreign policy is also responsible for this mess-specially in Iraq and Syria.  When people outside USA, blames us for bringing miseries in their lives,  whom should we or they should blame? Only policy makers, war monger factions of US Govt?  After all, I want peace. I will never endorse such war effort. Then can I be blamed for aggressive US foreign policy ?

  Answer is absolutely yes-as US citizen I can't absolve myself from crimes of bringing miseries to millions of people who have suffered for wrong US foreign policy no matter how opposed I might be to those policies. Reason is simple. Did I ever do enough to oppose the politics of war mongers in the democracy? Answer is no. I am busy making money and in pursuit of happiness for me and my family.  Miseries of Iraqis don't touch me at all!

 A Muslim, if he is still endorsing his faith as Islam -is definitely responsible for such heinous act of terrorism in the name of their religion. They have not done enough to stop hijacking of their religion to the extremist elements. How many Muslims are vocal against radical version of their religion?  It is tiny, minuscule faction. Worst survey reveals, quite a sizable moderate portion of Muslims endorse Sharia laws or believe Islamic laws are the best!! Which is no different than what these terrorists believe in!!  They should be held responsible for providing passive moral support. Period.

 However, we must understand,  terrorism and its root cause is much bigger  than Islam.  Nothing is possible without money. And money doesn't flow without vested interest in politics. Who are financing these terrorists ? Where are they getting moral support from ?  How they could smuggle AK-47 ?

 More we dig deeper into it, no matter how naive we pretend to be, we will end up in some uncomfortable questions of US foreign policy that used this brand of Islam during cold war. And matter didn't end there. US repeated same mistake even for ISIS. They are former Syrian rebels whom US was funding against Bassad.  When we try to use venomous snakes as weapon of war by domesticating them, they can bite back their masters too!

Progressive liberal ideas can't stop totalitarian barbaric Islamic radicalism.

French president promised merciless response. That is a joke. Liberal progressive society can't be merciless in response. It reminds me of a dialogue between Hun legend Attila and Roman general Arnegisclus before Battle of Utus.  Arnegisclus wanted to know why Attila is so confident of winning against Romans everytime. Attila replied, that he knows Romans have become too civilized to defeat Hun's barbarian army. His specific point was-civilized societies when challenged by the barbarians, never fared well historically because civility limited their response-all civilized societies are fearful.

 How can they be merciless? Thousands of Muslim youths have been radicalized all over the world. Are they going to kill them all? Killing will bring no solution. It will produce more terrorists.  Killing doesn't kill an idea.  Good or bad.

We all need to think this problem as structural issue of politics of our time. Failure of democracy and failing to strike right balance between liberal and collectivist ideas. It is clear religious ideas can be deadly-at least some of them and it can damage minds of the youths as it did to millions of Muslim youths. And as a counter response, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist-all kinds of radicalism is on rise.

 Freedom of religion and ideas must be restricted. Govt needs to impose strict laws against those spreading radical version of any religion or political ideas-either in social media or in place of worship. Preachers, writers of these deadly ideas must be prosecuted by law and by the society.

Liberal progressive ideas can't stop totalitarian barbaric radicalism.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Murderers of the atheist bloggers of Bangladesh-will the nation of Bengal fall in the hand of the Islamic extremists ?

I knew religion breeds hatred  and specially religion of Islam is nothing but another deadly virus of faith, but stark reality of merciless killing of atheist bloggers of Mukto-mona rattled me to the core. Avijit brought me to Mukto-mona platform in 2004 and since then, I have been in touch with most of the Mukto-mona writers either through email or facebook.  Therefore, each death is so personal to me, I can barely express my anger and frustration on inaction of Bangladesh Govt to bring justice and ensure security of the atheist bloggers. I have not only lost faith in whatever I believed in but for sure, I am leaning towards more extremist ideology which I myself categorized and denounced in several writing.

   Death does not frustrate me that much as death is the final destiny and supreme reality. Almost a decade back, when Mukto-mona founder Avijit Roy wrote to me for being vigilant and being careful as writing against extremist elements will ire many, I wrote him back stating,  I would consider myself fortunate if I have to die for a cause than for no cause. After all in Mahabharata, Duryodhana wanted to fight against Kaurava all because he thought death with glory is much better than living with a defeated soul. I firmly believe all of my dearest friends of Mukto-mona who have given their lives to safeguard the supreme principle of humanity and reason over darkness of religion, have attained that glory in their lifetime.  This does not make me sad at all. After all we are all soldiers fighting against dark and evil forces of religion. 

  What is frustrating is the politics of South Asia. I am a firm believer of democracy and I was delighted when democracy was established in Bangladesh in 1991. It is difficult to describe the system of politics in West Bengal and Bangladesh as ruling party makes sure victory by every possible vile means. People's choice is reflected sometimes but most of the time voting and therefore selection is rigged. All the parties are involved in rigging the election. So I would prefer to call it a "semi-democratic system". Yes, change does happen sometimes when anger of the people can no longer be managed. 

 My frustration starts with our evolution. We the Bengalis are peace loving, fish eating, music loving race from land of river-translated as Bang+aal-meaning land of river. Thousand years back, we had our own religion-commonly known as Sahajiya or easy path. Which is a relaxed form of paganism where poetry and music from deep understanding of life formed the core of our spiritual practice. That religion knew no king, no superiority, no killing. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Murder of Washiqur Rahman

When we live in the "so called" first world, speak for first amendment, right to freedom of speech, we forget about another world on our planet where people can't criticize their tyrant rulers, oppressive religions and unacceptable condition of living. If they do, they are dead already!
Washiqur Rahman added me in Facebook almost two years back. I know he was vocal against Bangladesh Govt for its failure to curb religious fundamentalism. Yesterday, he was killed by two illiterate Madrassa students who admittedly didn't read his blogs. Those two Islamic students acted to "save" their religion as directed by their Madrassa teacher.
Washiqur was quite talented-specially he had a style of his own satire. In him we found a young writer who could see the social injustice and oppression coming from low-middle class background but instead of sulking at it, he could extract his best parody.
Bangladesh for a long time has been a fertile breeding ground for Islamic terrorists. I guess one should be happy that, it may be an issue confined in Bangladesh but as we know, they also have their free shelter in West Bengal.
However, not sure, it is just law and order issue. After Avijit was hacked to death, majority of Bangladeshi Muslims rejoiced in social media blaming him for his criticism of religion. Washiqur murder met no different reaction-it is extremely disappointing to see, a large section of Bangladeshi Muslims rejoiced his death as well in social media.
Murders may be criminal, but when you see a large section of Muslims are supporting it, you will immediately realize why Islamophobia is growing in the west.
Unless everyone of us realize, human beings are more valued than mythical religions and fictitious prophets, world will continue to remain a bitter place to live as politician will exploit this hatred and fanaticism to fuel more hatred and genocide.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Existential crisis of Bengali Babus in North America

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass

-Hollow Men, T.S .Elliot
For those who have been to Laguna Nigel’s Kali temple, Prufullada (real name withheld) is a ubiquitous face. In his late fifties, he still looks pretty young. Although, I have been living in Orange County for last three years, I never visited the Temple . Couple of weeks back, I drove there for a melodious evening of Shyama Sangeet.
-You must be new to this area.
I heard an amiable voice.
- I am Prafullad Sarkar. And you?
- Amio Bangali. Bolun. Ami Biplab
(Am also Bengali, ya tell me, I am Biplab).
- Tai vabchilam. Katodin halo Americai ?
(I was thinking the same. For how long you are here in America?)
I have perfected this trail of conversation. He wanted to claim his superiority by virtue of his arrival date in America . Immigrant population of any ethnicity follows this hierarchy-first come first seniority basis status in the community. That’s why any senior person you would meet will kick off by reminding his seniority. A very linear story.
- Cha bachar
( Six years)
- Bah. Amar kuri bachar haye gelo. Software ye naki? Ekhanei permanent thakcho? (I am here for twenty years. Are you in software? Will you be staying here permanently? )
- Na software noi. Dwitio prashno tar uttar to jani na dada
(Not in software, but I don’t know the answer of the last question)
- Family niye thaka hoi ?
(Do you stay with family?)
- Ha, kintu sobai pujote Kolkatai
(Yes, I do. But they are in Calcutta now. Puja time.)
- Kolkatar pujo katodin dekhi ni
(For how long I have not seen Pujas in Calcutta )
Then he introduced me to his teenage daughters Tanisha and Rina. They greeted by saying "Hi Uncle". Yes, anybody in America with an Indian accent is uncle to second generation Indians. We are uncle by association of accent-eternal guilt, perennial fate of being born in another land.

We exchanged a few trifles. Prafullada is a Shivpur BE college alumni, who settled here as an Engineer during ‘80s. We promised we would meet again.
But that didn’t happen. He handed over his phone number to me. Since he is a senior, I was supposed to call. My wife does not like to be in touch with senior Bengali families. She thinks their wives are worst than torturous and slightly better than mother-in-laws. True, Bengali wives of America , even in their fifties put up a heavy make up. Quite unusual by Bengali modesty standard. But hay we are in America . Gotta understand most of them are working women. In America , you must look younger. Either by make up or by exercise. Bengali diet is not too healthy. So veil of make-up is the only way out..
-You go and meet with those old witches, I can’t. Their make-up, hoity-toity attitude towards new comers like me is simply unbearable! They pretend to be helpful but in reality that was a gesticulation for superiority. They like to advice on everything-starting from butts and boobs to what I am supposed to feed to my kids. You can’t even talk about any singer. They would rather boost how close she was to him! Bunch of morons.
I thought my wife is over reacting. Some of the Boudis are quite accommodating and helpful to new generation. It is always true, immigrants are so busy in managing their lives, earning a little more by working a little extra, they do not have time to groom themselves to the latest cultural fad and greatest literal output. This is true all across the board. Amidst the assiduous schedule, their cultural mind does stretch beyond a few movies. A weekend meet (Dawat for Bangaldeshi and Nemanttana for Bengalis of Indian origin) among the families serves as the only refreshing recreation in the absence of close friend circles.
What’s about the identity then?
What nonsense, I am talking about! Just think. I am into office, working as a middle class hardworking American. I am 100% American in the office including my lunch. I step out; drive back home and then I become a dad. Dad of an American. Given the cultural difference between these kids and the dads, it is not the same dad-son chemistry we have enjoyed in our teens. There was depth of criticality and appreciation which is obviously missing here. So I am a half dad and a half Bong.
What’s about my Bengali identity?
The hardest part. When I go out and meet new people in the job, I hear the phrase-Are you an Indian? Yes, sir. That’s about being an Indian. My colleagues are such a bosom friends and cohorts, my ethnic identity already desiccated into cosmopolitan American whirlwind.
And of course, I have a Bengali wife, few Bengali friends, a Bengali TV channel and once a year Durga Puja. Thanks to my wife, I still enjoy some of the ethnic Bengali dishes. And thanks to Internet, I am connected to my motherland. Yes BS from Ananda Bazar, I am relying on-what else to do. But that’s all about it
Death of a Bengali inside the Babus is not as painful as the death of a feudal lord inside. Adjustment from feudalism to capitalism. In our homeland, most of us were somebody. We were made to feel somebody-either by virtue of good academic career or by the respect from commoners who can not afford two squares meal a day. What ever it is, we were identifiable somebody-either as a secretary of student organization or as a good student.
In America , we, the Babus are nobody. Very few make it to the top management –because success as a manager needs cultural assimilation with its own accent. Mathematical skill is not much of a help to ride in the ladder. Bengali immigrants of post IT era are still better off-at least they are the proud Indians who have a Bangalore in their pocket. Old Bengalis of 60’s, 70’s and 80’s suffer from a chronic inferiority complex. Despite their talents, they never made it to the cream of the American Corporate except with a few notable exceptions. Blame it to discrimination, but one can clearly see its lasting effect on their lives.
After IT revolution, Indians made it to the top of the American society-as venture capitalists, managers, scientists and doctors. So young Babus like us have very little corpus to complain-no room to blame discrimination for our flop career. But for the senior Babus, it is still a big sore. Chronic discriminations they have faced in their days when Indians were not that of a recognized face, still make them depressed. At least when asked about my education, I can proudly say I am IITian. I don’t need any American stamp what so ever, to prove myself further. Surely that was not the case in the seventies and eighties. Hard works of our seniors established the Indian brand-name. Beyond doubts, we are the beneficiary of their hard work.
But then comes the worst part. In America , we can exist in a real or virtual ghetto in our cultural life. We were, somewhat, forced to. I don’t know of many first generation Bengalis or Indians, who would be comfortable with American night life. First, scary discrimination from the blonds in the night clubs. To those bimbos, our physique and look is slightly better than that of a monkey. An au fait revenge on the behalf of womanhood for au courant racist Babus who have very little appreciation for swarthy Bengali brides back home. Second, many do not like acid rocks. Immature death of eardrum smoothened by RabindraSangeet and chocolate melodies.
I have a lot of good American friends but in general they are not very sociable outside office relation-specially in comparison to the Europeans. I have lived with American families twice as a paying guest. They do not socialize copiously even with other Americans in comparison to what we Bengalis like to do. In the matter of social skills, Americans in the mid-west are better off than those from the coast. Mid-westerners are better cultured than coastal people, specially the yahoos of west coast. Europeans are somewhat like Bengalis-they love adda as much as we like it. That’s why I have more European friends than Americans.
But what ever it is-the fact remains the same. We need Bengali friend circles, Hilsa and a Durga puja to keep alive. Hilsa Vape is still substitutable by smoked Salmon. But Bengalis friends and Durga puja are indispensable.
Hence comes the reality. And a bitter truth. Every senior Babu wants to rein his control over Puja committee. Just to save himself from a losing identity of nobody. I saw the same among Bangladeshi community. In their case, identity crisis metamorphosed into a meaningless Awami League versus BNP tug of war in a foreign soil. Jahed Ahamed may not appreciate it. But I have full sympathy for those people who are struggling, fighting, throwing extravagant parties to be a leader in the community-striving to be somebody from the eternal hollow of nobody.
Allusive pursuit of existence in a meaningless ruckus.
Well, that’s what the life is all about! Isn’t it?
Anaheim 10/26/06

Avijit Roy, as I knew him

 It was perhaps fall  of 2004.  I relocated from New Jersey to California in a new job. I don't remember exactly how but  I found a Yahoo group called Mukto-mona []. The group immediately pulled my attention and time. Keep it mind, in those days, Yahoo group was the most vibrant of all social media forums for debate and discussion. MM group was a great place for debating on topics like philosophy, religion, science and politics with like minded rationalists  from South Asia.

 This was our first personal exchange after a few months of debate in MM forums on myriad of topics like "whether religion is the true cause of misery in South Asia ", " Ethics and Darwinism", "Communism as Religion" , " Is Capitalism the end solution ? "

I started writing in Bengali in 2005. Initially with low pace and then it become my passion.
I was working in a job where everyone would have been happy if I become less productive as thanks to corporate politics, being productive would have been counterproductive for my job security and position.  I was expected to do pretty trivial work, not worth challenging my intellect or qualification.  In fact, giving two hours a day in the job was more than what I needed!

 Rest of the time, I have utilized in MM platform. I had a strong passion for literature. But due to lack of proper association, never I got a chance before to cultivate it.

Avijit and me both had a strong obsession with Tagore but with a different outlook. First time we seriously debated with each other is on "Feminism and Tagore".  There was no doubt in personal life Tagore was parochially conservative. But I differed on his view that Tagore's write-up does not reflect feminist movement of his time. We exchanged several posts and sometimes with bit of personal attack but we always talked to understand each other.

    This is one of his post on Tagore rebutting my position on Tagore:

And then followed my rebuttal  available in the link.

  The discussion and debate turned nasty. So Bonya came into both of our rescue calling both of us in a conference call and dissolved the debate for time being. She has played referee times and again for our debates and we had a great faith on her neutrality.

Matter of fact, year of 2005  has been the most productive for me on Mukto-mona Yahoo group and the website. I started reading mostly on Marx and his critics. And I discovered Sir Karl Popper, greatest known philosopher of science. Learning the basis of Poperian falsification changed much of my thinking.

    It is on that year, we got engaged in largest philosophical debate in MM platform- on scope of science in defining our philosophy.  In general, academically, this is known as naturalism. Debate started with one of my article on "Bigganbad" which is lose translation of naturalism. Link to the

And debate is here:

   Most of the celebrated members of the forums participated. Avijit, Bonya and Jahed opposed my view. I had a long debate and discussion with Bonya on the forum. Jahed got nasty and wrote a piece linking me to my background in RKM for writing such a piece but later on he retracted understanding nowhere, I meant any theology at all.



Following science means, freeing your mind from any dogma, rationally. 

You have failed to do so in this posting and become dogmatic as a logical consequence as predicted by Popper. Which is actually the warning from Sir Popper. Let analyze who is becoming dogmatic based on same method of science. I am glad, you provided me with this opportunity.

AV:"I dont think "voting" by common people can give any "scientific 
criterion" in any subject whatever it is (1a). What is popular may not be 
true, and what is true may not be popular always (1b). Science does not 
allow taking a stand just because it is politically correct or 
popular to majority (1c)." 

BP: Let again analyze your view on this point. My point was:

Because 70% people thought Aiswaria is the most beautiful woman, I can used this as a counter evidence against what we believe as purely subjective choice of beauty being guided by our chemistry. If we have 10 beauties to vote and 70% of large sample size voted for Aisharia , can be taken as a clear counter proof that our choice of beauty is not purely subjective unless you have different definition for subjectivity. Subjectivity is the word under hypothesis and the example served is an evidence against the hypothesis.

Besides if your (1a) is true, you have just made all the statisticians jobless! Do you know, testing of tea, smelling of perfumes, liking of advertisements, rating of the movies are all done on statistical liking? Remember, we are looking for statistical hypothesis testing based on a hypothesis. I suggest you take a course of hypothesis testing to understand what is scientific evidence and method. Your statement is a proof of your ignorance in statistical method. 

And turn to (1b),"What is popular may not be 
true, and what is true may not be popular always (1b). "

I am surprised a logical person like you is bringing this point. Because the hypothesis was on 'popularity' in the beauty. The hypothesis is not about finding any other 'truth' other that subjectivity of beauty which is being tested trough the popularity of beauty. In this case 'popularity' is a direct "parametric measure' of truth and not the truth is an inductive one based on the popularity.

Now to your confusion of (1c):

"Science does not allow taking a stand just because it is politically correct or 
popular to majority (1c)." 

How is this related to our hypothesis of subjectivity? You made a completely uncorrelated statement. We are not taking stand. We are looking for evidence of failure which is the basic method that separates science from non-science. In this case 'popularity' itself is the parameter we are looking for and not that we are taking a popular or politically correct decision on popularity number. Please do not confuse popularity as a statistical measure versus, popular choice of popularity. Again, I suggest you to read measure theory in Mathematics.

AV"Science solely depend on scientific proof. 
There should not be any confusion on this."

BP: What is scientific proof for the null hypothesis, i.e, some artistic views can be objectively perceived or viewed! I gave you (3) counter evidences-1. Algorithmic evolution of subjective prose 2. Study of cyber-pschycology 3. Popular choice of beauty of Aiswaria. which in a way to show that people does have a pattern in selecting beauty.

Explain to me why these can not be accepted as evidences for null hypothesis?

What are the scientific proofs for null hypothesis? Ofcouse it can be how human brain image or human brain radiation behaves while evaluating beauty and such research is being carried out!

As said before, you need to take a course on statistical hypothesis testing and experimental design to understand what is the definition of scientific proof. Problem is, now a days because of advanced software we always do research using software and tend to forget the basics. That's what happened to you in this case.

AV" Love, fear, altruism, conscience (sense of right 
and wrong), admiration for beauty - these are biologically rooted instincts."

BP>> How do you know it is only intrinsic? You mean to say love, fear has nothing to do with the society and upbringing? Why Muslims hate non-muslims and love their brotherhood? Biologically intrinsic? kidding me! Poor you!

Would you behave same as a postune (pathan) when you have to fire a AK47 against your enemy? This is not true and if true, in this case, after statisticians you have made all the practicing psychiatrists out of their jobs.

AV"Instincts are not controllable or influenced by "scienticsm"."

BP>> If instincts would not have been controllable or influenced by our knowledge or acquired knowledge, we would have been raping all the beautiful women now and then! We do control our instincts based on learned ( cognitive) behavior). I am disappointed that you made this statement.

AV"Science does not decide to control or the tastes or 
flavor of pupulation such as : favourite poet, favourite 
acctress, "greatest Bangalee", "greatest beauty" ..etc (to be frank 
these sort of listing greatest beings gives emotional hype, not 
logical/scietific. :"

BP: Though you have written a book on science and also wrote that science means its method and not the laws, it is clear, deep down in your mind, you also understand a set of a laws as science! Which is common among students of subcontinents, for the very reason, the way they are trained in science.

The statement is the clear example. If science is a method to understand love, fair and rage in this case, how will you make a meaning out of the above? Clearly you are viewing a set of laws as science and then only above statement does bear a meaning. If science is a method, we can come out with answer

(1) The hypothesis is unscientific (2) It is scientific but rejected under testing (3) accepted under testing. We can have a lot of hypothesis on this, few of them will be unscientific, few will be accepted, few negated!

AV"Science doe not deal with those short listing 
unless you dogmatically try to promote as a "ism", which I dont 

BP>> Your statement is dogmatic because you are declaring 'rigidly' such things can not deal with such things ( though pretty much we do in behavioral science ). The statement is a dogma. Because, my statement " Science can deal with it' is viewed and analyzed as falsifiable hypothesis. Which means, I assume " Science can deal with such things wrong' and then look for counter evidence to find out whether it can!

AV"But of course science can certainly help explain the 
BIOLOGICAL ORIGIN of love, affection, admiration for beauty, 
morality, altruuism and/or other human values and attributes. "

BP: Again if you are right, I am afraid so many psychiatrists are out of job at this moment! There is learned behavior added to it.

AV"Once again I repeat: To understand or to seek the biological roots 
of love, or admiration of beauty is scientific, but to take decision 
on some emotional criterion thru popular vote is purely unscientific."

BP: Prove your statement by method of science, because unscientific is a well defined word. But I can prove your statement is unscientific.

"to take decision 
on some emotional criterion thru popular vote is purely unscientific"

Because of the word 'some', one will not find a counter evidence! Therefore the statement is unscientific.


Method of science has been discovered to end dogma and if you oppose it, by rules, you will become dogmatic and irrational as happened in this posting. There is a beautiful writing by Sir Popper, Rational scrutiny of man. You will realize, if you do not follow prescribed method of science, you will produce more and more irrational and dogmatic statements as you did in this case.

In any case, I suggest you to do some serious reading on Statistical methods, hypothesis testing and experimental design. Then you will realize power of null hypothesis to end dogma. 

But I am glad, you did so many mistakes. Otherwise I would not have get this chance to show, how a rationalist can slip into irrationalism if fails to follow the method of science!

Anyhow, do not take it otherwise. If you would have taken some courses on Statistical measures,measure theory etc., I am sure you would not have posted this.

 In fact, Avi wrote a complete rebuttal to my position on science and its efficacy. It can be found in 

Bigganbad and Falsification: Few comments Avijit Roy

I don’t want to take our debate to typical cyber “Bangali Jhogra” that is very much evident in all typical Bengali forums. Normally most of the cases, a thread starts with innocent disagreement but ultimately ends with personal attack. I thought ours will be different. But, unfortunately, after reading your last response I had to think whether it’s really worthy to continue the debate. I seriously do not want to take our discussion in a heated nasty clash as we both know each others’ position pretty well. Your last response shows perhaps you’ve become frustrated dealing with the issue over and over, hence to much irrelevant comment was made. For example: 

a) Though you have written a book on science … it is clear, deep down in your mind, you also understand a set of a laws as science! Which is common among students of subcontinents,..
b) I am surprised a logical person like you is bringing this point….
c) Why Muslims hate non-muslims and love their brotherhood? Biologically intrinsic? kidding me! Poor you!
d) Your statement is a proof of your ignorance in statistical method. Etc..

This kind of Ad Hominem attack is a general category of fallacy because irrelevant attack against the character of person making the claim, his/her circumstances, or his/her actions cannot give any lift logically, in any debate. If you think making personal attack will lead you to winning situation, then I have nothing much to say. However, I will try one more time (may be this is the last time) to clarify my position.  

I gave enough evidences in my previous write-ups that beauty is a relative thing. My idea of beauty may differ from another person’s concept of beauty. This does not mean that the concept of beauty changes at all, just my perspective of it is different. In a nutshell, relative truths (there is a scientific definition of this term; for ref. see sokal’s book) change with time and perspective. They are useful in experiencing the world around us, but are different for each individual. Some criterion like beauty, poetic artwork, literary values are sometimes impossible to define, and must be understood largely on the basis of personal experience, not by any strict scientific laws. It seems you do not want to agree, even though you are aware of the facts. You used “statistical methods” to calculate majority people’s taste and called the process scientific. I agree that you maintained a scientific process here. However, just following a scientific process in any matter does not necessarily lead to scientific reality. Astrologers also sometimes uses statistics or mathematics to calculate individual’s fate (I have seen some astrologers even uses computer to generate the result), but that undoubtedly does not make astrology scientific. Willium Dembski is also using lot of statistical theory for formulating thesis on ID (he even claims that his mathematics have replaced Darwinism), which also does not make it ‘scientific’ to the scientific community. Just Scientific Language or some statistics does not Make a topic Scientific (For details please check How thinking goes wrong by Michael Shermer). This is a danger that Sokal and Bricmont pointed in their “Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science” explaining why they feel that each is misusing specific scientific concepts without understanding their scientific meaning. Even if we want to use “statistics” here we should not debate anymore; as all of the members (at least 4 out of 5) responded to the thread disagreed with your view. So will you accept that your theory was wrong based on this statistical result?

You said, “Your statement is a proof of your ignorance in statistical method.” I am afraid it’s you who are not aware how scientific method works. Science is no politics, it’s rarely any matter how much vote one can obtain like a political leader in a competition. Also please think that if Aishwaria did not appear in world beauty contest  (he could have made that decision) and did not come to the world of hindi movies, only few people would be aware of her “beauty”. Certainly she would not be in the top list in such popularity vote. However, not attaining a competition does not mean that the beauty of Aishwaria can be changed at all, only truth is people would not be aware of her “beauty”. You so called “scientific” analysis completely missed this point. And you are suggesting me to learn statistics!  Same goes to your citation of “Algorithmic evolution of subjective prose” or kind of “poetic software” which cannot produce a Lalon, Tagore or Shakespeare (or Picasso in the world of art) . Artistic/poetic genius is more than your stated poor algorithm, and of course still in the area of subjective judgment.  
Again, arguing with you it gave me impression that you are also not aware of the logical fallacies like – “Argumentum ad numerum” and “Argumentum ad populum” while you propose majority vote as a criterion in a scientific analysis.  

You have some other important flaws in your analogy. Let me remind you from where the main conflict started.  

[1] You used a term “scientism” in one of your messages (message # 27919) and wrote a Bangla piece on “bigganbad”. However some members showed the definition (dogmatic form) of scientism and you shifted your position saying, you did not mean it rather you meant scientific methodology (which is already an established term, why we need Biggan baad then, is still beyond my understanding!).Scientism is a century old term which has already been rejected by many sociologists, economists and even the scientists again and again for it’s own self-annihilating view. And any ‘ism’, I clarified many times, represents just a specific doctrine, cannot be a representative of complete  science. You are somehow overlooking the important aspect, Biplab. Let’s see who you fell in your own loop-hole while preaching ‘scientism’. You criticized Marxism for being dogmatic/unscientific for using it in political aspect (check your Marxism ki biggan?), however it is you who argued that you want to make use of science politically (scientism) to fight against Mullahs. How much different is this approach? Please check :This is what you wrote in “Bigganbad ekti purnango dorshon” : 

“.. Birodhider kono rajnoitik Dorshon nei, Nana Munir nana Mot. Nanan Dol. Moulobadider biruddhe ebhabe ki lorai shombhob? …chai shoktishali dorshon. Ekmatro Bigganei pawa shombhob” 

This is purely self-contradictory. Again, you accused Marx and Lenin for not to be skeptical about their own theories or conclusions, however, I also find the same attitude in your writing too :)  

[2] Your Bangla article started defining scientism by formulating hypothesis. However conclusions you drawn many times are oversimplified and self contradictory. For example, to formulate the root cause of Islamic terrorism you have pointed two mutually exclusive factors – Islam’s teaching vs US policy; this is a typical example of "black and white" / "false dichotomy" or bifurcation as it presents a situation as having only two alternatives, where in fact other alternatives exist or can exist (For example, socio-political reasons for raising of Islamism basically in ‘80s: example : decolonization such as Ba'athism, Arab Nationalism, vigor in the Iran-Iraq War, conflict against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Zia-ul-Haq’s exploitation Islamist sentiments, Khomeini’s revolution etc. ). Your “Bigganbaadi” conclusion (especially for mukto-mona) came from a wrong hypothesis, which I think, is inevitable if one follows the philosophy of scientism dogmatically. See, this is what you argued : 

“Abar Keo Keo bolchen Koran ebong America ubhoyi shoman dayee” [Mukto-Mona]  

Mukto-Mona did not preach Koran and/or US – such silly bifurcation, let alone be it “equally” (another intentional mistake of yours) responsible. I wonder what let you take such silly conclusion. Scientism?  

[3] Your “Bigganbaadi” conclusion on divorce is also a classic example how Bigganbad can be promoted as a dogma.  This is what you exactly argued : 
“Shontan Dharoner por Divorce kono motei kammyo noy. Shontan na thakle oboshho ekta lok kota divorce korche tate kichu jay ashe  na” 

See how desperate you are in preaching your own biased conclusion in the name of “Bigganbaad”. It can be argued that divorce is very closely associated with women’s liberation and women’s rights issue. All these centuries, religion and society did not let us fight against the oppression on women; they were forced to stay in a marriage because they had no other choice. It is really interesting and entertaining to see that you are also coming to the same conclusion with your ‘bigganbaad’. So, an abused woman has to stay in an abusive marriage only because of bigganbaad; at least your theory suggests so. If it’s not dogmatic, what it is! 

In the same respect I wish to remind you how by implementing Darwin's theory of evolution in social context with a hidden agenda, some “scientists” tried to associate in the public mind with racism, imperialism, eugenics etc. Hope your enthusiasm for scientism would not be of this kind. 

[4] In general I agree the method of falsifiability in the case of strict scientific (experimental) research at least; however we must also know even in those scientific realm many “real” physicists, including Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg (in case of string theory he rejected Popper) and Alan Sokal, have criticized falsifiability on the grounds that it does not accurately describe the way science really works. For e.g, Sokal writes, 

 "When a theory successfully withstands an attempt at falsification, a scientist will, quite naturally, consider the theory to be partially confirmed and will accord it a greater likelihood or a higher subjective probability. ... But Popper will have none of this: throughout his life he was a stubborn opponent of any idea of 'confirmation' of a theory, or even of its 'probability'. ... [but] the history of science teaches us that scientific theories come to be accepted above all because of their successes." [Ref :  ] 

Let me give some precise examples to show the limitation of falsifiability:  
a) Astrology is an example which most rational people would agree is not science. However, if we follow Popper’s theory, it has to be a part of science, cause, astrology constantly makes falsifiable predictions -- a new set is printed every day in the newspapers -- yet only few dogmatics would argue this makes it scientific. 

b) The proposition that the patient is homosexual is not falsifiable as according to Popper’s theory, there is no way the patient could convincingly demonstrate his heterosexuality to the analyst ( check  for details). This eventfully can lead to another dangerous proposition; some may argue supporting homosexuality right is not scientific (your “scientism” would surely lead to this conclusion). Now check your very simplified conclusion on divorce etc, you will get your answer where you were wrong. I do not consider that your wrong conclusion is just a lack of hypothesis, rather inevitable loop of holes for following “scientism” dogmatically.  

c) Another good example can be cited from laws of physics: remember - Isaac Newton's laws of motion in their original form were falsified by experiments in the twentieth century (eg, the anomaly of the motion of Mercury, the behavior of light passing sufficiently close to a star, the behavior of particle being accelerated in a cyclotron, etc), and replaced by a theory which predicted those phenomena, General Relativity, though Newton's account of motion is still a good enough approximation for most human needs. It’s not still “entirely” rejected. Now I give exactly opposite examples in the following passages: 

Consider “Super String” theory where string is considered as one dimensional object which is yet to be verified experimentally. Many scientists think it’s really impossible to experimentally verify this theory, even though they accept the theory as scientific. But, it is not a falsifiable theory in the sense of Popper. Now please let me know your opinion - whether it’s really a scientific theory (Please do not argue that String models have mathematical formulations etc. Astrology or Ptolemy’s geocentric models also had mathematical formulations).  

Another good example in physics is Higgs field, which has not experimentally verified (Check the book The Fabric of Cosmos by Brian Green, pp 269) in a sense that observations do not prove that Higgs field exist. It’s kind a like (but not exactly) a concept of Eather. Obviously, these concepts are not falsifiable in the strict sense of Popper, but still considered as scientific to almost all physicists.  

d) Thomas Kuhn’s influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions argued that scientists work in a series of paradigms, and found little evidence of scientists actually following a falsificationist methodology. His argument was totally opposite of what popper’s theory. Personally I think scientific research proceeds accepting delicate balance of both Khun and Popper.  

Perhaps you know that  Popper's student Imre Lakatos (later an influential philosopher) attempted to reconcile Kuhn’s work with falsificationism by arguing that science  progresses by the falsification of research programs rather than the more specific universal statements of na├»ve falsificationism (this is where I argue). Another of Popper’s students Paul Feyerabend (another influential philosopher) ultimately rejected any prescriptive methodology, and argued that the only universal method characterizing scientific progress was anything goes. 
e) Popper himself argued that Marxism was not science. Again, this does not mean, that any of these types of theories are necessarily invalid or unacceptable (just as gay rights/divorce rights etc.) in the society. Popper considered falsifiability a test of whether theories are scientific, not of whether theories are valid. Many sociologist today argue that social theory does not needed to be falsifiable always (I am not arguing for Marxism here, just giving a thought whether falsifiability can be taken seriously as a sole criterion for social/political/cultural acceptance).  

f) Many argues that falsificationism in its various forms is an interesting idea but insufficient either to characterize science or solve the demarcation problem. It suffers from a series of logical and philosophical difficulties that should perhaps give us pause if hoping to find a single answer to what makes good science and what does not. Please check :  

 Again Biplab, my intention is not to make you frustrated and put you in an attacking or defensive mode. I thought we can both learn and grow from our friendly interchange. If you keep on attacking me on silly issue without understanding my points, then please consider this as my last response in this thread.

Avijit Roy writes from Singapore.  e-mail: