Pseudoscience & Religion

On the New Color Scheme

An astute observer would have noticed that there have been some changes to the color scheme at Nirmukta. The said scheme may also appear familiar to some of our readers. In all seriousness, the new look is purposefully designed to convey the “Indian-ness” of the website (and yes, I do stand by those colors!) while maintaining our focus on the brewing conflict between science and religion in society.

I’m writing this post to clear up any misconceptions that may arise about the intentions behind using the tri-color scheme as the banner on the site.  Of-course, patriotism can be understood in purely naturalistic terms as evolutionarily adaptive. It is also well established that a high degree of patriotism is not incompatible with the capacity to inflict immense suffering on those outside of one’s group. However, the value of belonging to a community that shares history and culture is immeasurable. It is a value that promotes social action and awakens us to come together for our fellow human beings.

Patriotism, like other powerful emotions such as “spirituality” and hope, is too vital a part of our nature for us free-thinkers to leave it in the hands of the religious folk. It only makes sense to utilize all positive social emotion in order to help build a free and moral society. 

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Ajita Kamal

6 Comments

  • i am new to the blogging paradigm, and this may seem incoherently written, but nationalism, and derivatives thereof, have been the biggest causes of genocide in the twentieth century. i don’t think i would be too far off if i called nationalism the religion of the twentieth century, and spurned nationalism as i do religion.

    i agree with you that solidarity with your community at large is important; but i feel that this has to be limited to your group of neighbours/friends/coworkers whom, as a thumb rule, you have a chance of running into in your everyday life. for example, i do not get what solidarity someone terrorised by the army (in the name of nationalism, i might add) in kashmir could have with someone working for XYZ Infotech in bangalore, other than that the same government is in charge of both places.

  • Thanks for the comment, croor.
    Sociologically speaking, the culprit is group identity in general. While there is no doubt that in-group – out-group thinking can be dangerous and lead to violence, you cannot deny that it is an essential part of our social structure. You are no-doubt correct in pointing out that nationalism has caused much suffering. However, without group identity there is no civilization to begin with. Much social progress has been achieved by pandering to this sociobiological emotion.
    Group-identity will continue to be the dominant means of social action for the foreseeable future. If we are to usher social reform, we must act within its confines while challenging the wrongs committed in its name.
    To use your example, I believe that the best way to end the bad treatment of certain groups is by appealing to the sense of brotherhood that our common heritage brings.
    You are OK with localized group behavior. However, we live in different conditions than those we evolved under and nations and unions are the scale of order. It still is the same in-group – out-group behavior that we need to understand. We can either reject all expressions of group-identity, including cricket matches and the olympics, or we can attempt to understand how these emotions are a part of our nature and how we can use them for the common good. I think that the latter is far more pragmatic.

  • point taken.

    i can always hope that something with the benefits of a social group without the strict boundaries can be devised. or that people see the nation state for what it is.

    i must make one (unrelated) point here. you mentioned the loss of cricket matches and the olympics as what would result from completely dismantling the nation-state. i don’t know if this is because you think they are particularly important, or because you thought that i would think losing sports would be too big a price to pay.

  • I think that group identity is such an integral part of our nature that competitive sports is a benign outlet for these emotions. And yes, I do enjoy a game of friendly competition! But that was just an example.

  • In all seriousness, the new look is purposefully designed to convey the “Indian-ness” of the website (and yes, I do stand by those colors!) while maintaining our focus on the brewing conflict between science and religion in society… Any thoughts?

    I love it!

    In the context of reason vs. superstion, there is a lie that gets passed around a lot: That free-thought is just the dead-white-male perspective on reality. It’s a lie that is spread in the name of cultural relativism, and it’s condescending to people in a way that doesn’t sit well for me. It’s as if the relativists are claiming that color of a person’s skin or the ethnicity of a person’s ancestry can render a person incapable of drawing informed conclusions from the critical analysis of objective evidence.

    Emphasizing the “Indian-ness” of the site helps a lot to reveal the actuality of the situation, which is that the right to freedom of thought and speech are (or at least, should be) universal to all peoples, not just to middle-class white males.

  • Patriotism can be good and bad also.
    I say sometimes it can be good because, it has helped as unifying factor. For example there were many small kingdoms in India. Which were unified to become India. Its a sense of patriotism which was responsible for unification.
    If it is utilized properly it can lead to unification of whole world as a single community.
    It’s a gradual process like we have European Union now, BRIC is in formation. Gradually mega economies will develop. And these mega economies are first step towards achieving equality and unifying the world.
    Patriotism is way of saying we are equal.
    But excess of patriotism leads to superiority complex and can lead to disastrous consequence’s.

    Here is Dr.Michael Kaku on future of civilization which is my favourite:-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cF4p_pMfcs

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