Friday, December 04, 2009

Discoveries and Inventions

On Indian TV, there is a TATA SKY ad that is currently running that offers new TV channel. This TV Channel will allow the viewer to get ‘darshan’ of their deities in different temples while sitting in their homes. The ad says that having this channel at home would give you ‘acche sanskar’ and this acche sanskar is directly correlated to watching the deities on the television. This mindset is very much in tune with what most Indians believe- that religiosity is very important to be moral.

This ad depicts young and old Indians who are extremely modern in their attire, habits and professions, not your typical saadhus or ascetics who have renounced the material world. Its shows a young boy sporting a goatee and ear stud, a businessman in sophisticated business attire, a modern lady in a beauty parlor, and a young college girl in jeans, they have all embraced tools of modernity, but they show reverence and respect (acche sanskar) because of their religion (in this case it happens to be Hinduism).

It is clear, as Samuel Huntington rightly puts it - most non-Western societies are becoming more religious while embracing tools of modernity with more vigor. This ad only reflects what he has to say.

While I was thinking more about this topic, I came with an observation.

Science usually deals with discoveries, while technology involves inventions (on an exaggerated generalization). Inventions (that is technology) in turn helps scientists to make more discoveries (furthering science) which will in turn fuel more inventions (more technology). So, basically science and technology feed into each other, hence we use the term ‘science and technology’ together. Tough they are used together but they are not same. The fact they are very different comes out more prominently when we bring religion into the picture.

Before I go into that, let’s look at the religion vis-à-vis inventions and discoveries.

Religion easily laps up all inventions and in fact it loves technology. Gurus use technology medium with utmost savvy to reach out to their devotees. TV, SMS, DVD, Walkman, Tape Recorders, Video Cameras, Mobile phones, are used by religion to bring the religious people together, to keep a tab on them, to communicate with them, and to spread their message. Evangelists use TV for promoting their religion and to garner the devotee’s money. Religious terrorists use satellite phones, cryptography, and internet to communicate with each other to carry out their evil designs. Also, you will see that the devotees in very high places use mobile phones and e-mails to carry out their business. Engineers and doctors are actively promoted by the religion. Many religious people embrace technology with utmost ease and vigor without having to understand or appreciate the fundamentals of science.

However religion abhors science. That’s because science enters the realm and domain that is dominated by blind belief. Where science enters, it shines light on the darkness of orthodoxy and superstition. Science dispels myths, stories, lies, and other conundrums concocted to fool ignorant people. It talks about origin of universe which was always a domain in which religion dominated for many centuries. Science explains away nature with a set of easily understood laws while religion likes to keep it mysterious and complicated. Most religions on the planet abhor science - some do it pronouncedly while some do it mildly.

Religion’s attitude towards inventions is a welcoming one while it shuns discoveries. If I were to put it in crude way, religion promotes inventions while it discourages discoveries. Religion invents all the time – of instances of human interventions that become divine, invents stories and fables, invents lies to tie those stories and fables into one consistent story, and so on. So, basically religious people are quite ready to embrace inventions (technology) but are quite averse to discovering anything (science).

While religions and religious people are ready to embrace the byproducts of science that come as a tools of technology, they continue to have skeptical view of science and scientists. This is prominently seen in developing world which have tasted the material benefits of technology without having to toil for it.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. While there is some truth to what the post says about religion and discovery, there is something about the relationship between religion and discovery that is not said. Religion too adapts when it can no longer fight science and its discoveries. It changes its story with time albeit very slowly. In the process, it loses some adherents and it gains new ones. Religion offers something that its adherents simply believe in as long as there is no manifest conflict between facts and the belief. All that is required to believe in it is a tiny room for a different interpretation of facts. 'Interpretation' in the religious realm includes stories that are not proportional to facts. Proporitionality to facts is not a requirement for belief in religious dogma although it is a stringent requirement in science. Facts that bring religion to its knees can only be collected over a time period that is significant enough to allow religion to wage a war against those bringing those facts and at the same time to give it enough time to modify its 'story' appropriately so that it retains its validity to its followers.

    ~ Vinod

  3. Religion is biased when it comes to inventions as well. Perhaps the greatest invention of all time, the condom is abhorred by most religions. I've heard some idiot on a talk show in God TV say "science & technology leads to killing people" in the context of atom bombs & Hitler, when he should be at awe that he is being heard by ppl across the globe instantly because of exactly science & technology.

  4. " This is prominently seen in developing world which have tasted the material benefits of technology without having to toil for it. "

    Just brilliant !. Absolutely brilliant. Your blog should be among the best Indian blogs.

    This is absolutely a correct statement. While India is enjoying an economic boom thanks to USA and Europe, Its own contribution towards science and technology has been next to nothing !.

    Even after having been at the forefront of IT for almost 2 decades(since 1989), Nothing path-breaking nor innovative concepts have come out of India even though IT essentially requires no infrastructure to innovate. One basically needs a Computer with reasonable speed internet to do what he needs to.

    I had worked abroad for a few years and I have seen the struggles that people there undergo. It is a myth that people outside India do not work hard in their jobs.

    It is only pure financial compulsion which is forcing the western countries to outsource their work to India.

    Having worked both in India and abroad, I am noticing an interesting factor in the IT industry in India namely the rise of MBA !!.

    While a doctor slogs to understand the human body and disease, A lawyer fights hard for his client, An Engineer(even a Software developer) uses his mathematical and analytical mind to come up with solutions and to produce, I absolutely fathom to understand what a person with a MBA DOES?.

    While I agree that an MBA does carry great value in the financial world with all the Insurance, stock markets and finance....The rise of MBA holders in the IT in India is quite interesting.

    In India, invariably almost all Managers in IT industry hold a MBA degree. Whether they have a clue about Software or not dosent matter, as long as the coveted MBA he holds he becomes a manager !.

    A recent study a few years back in the west dispels the myth that it is essential to be a MBA to start a business or be an Entrepreneur.

    In fact the study showed the following:

    a. 80% of those who have started new businesses held a Technical degree and were prominently in the technical field.

    b. 10% of them included lawyers.

    c. About 5% of them did not have a degree (Michael Dell/Bill Gates included)

    d. Only about 5% of them held a MBA.

    Which means that though the MBA might enable you to be a good manager (which is again questionable?)....It is no prerequisite to be an Entrepreneur


  5. @Saurav

    It always bugged me too.

    I'm not sure what an MBA guy learns during his course.

    E.g. Anybody finishing medical school learns a lot about Human anatomy, diseases etc. and will be able to cure diseases, which is a valuable skill to society.

    Same can be said about lots of other disciplines like engineering (civil, electronics etc). But when it comes to MBA, what, I think, they actually learn is cool terminology for something that everybody knows.

    I see no real value in MBA. I know it has lot of "commercial value" in the sense that it can earn you money. My point being somebody can not be a doctor without attending a medical school but anyone can become a good manager without going to management school. So why is everyone after MBA guys. Beats me.


  6. Not long ago, if you were religious or superstitious, you were considered to be backward. Not any more.

    Nowadays, in socially conscious and 'forward thinking' high society circles, it is a requirement to profess to believe in or practice one or more of the following- astrology, numerology, reiki, pranic/tantric healing, Shirdi Sai Baba (note-NOT Sathya Sai Baba, that will demote you instantly), vaastu, feng shui, tarot cards, lucky stones, power animals, etc.

    Plain rationalists who mock the above are ostracized from these circles.

  7. @Ledzius

    Dont know where you stay or what you are experience but my Parents and my family are pretty cool about me being an Atheist.

    They are like....U dont interfere in our work and we do the same and they actually follow it.

    So now things are changing EVEN in India !!...Lol

  8. Religion is a set of moral codes for the stability of the society and family.

    Sans religion the society would be atomized, decadent and would shrink in numbers.

  9. Religion has its origins at a time when there were conflicting ideas and warring tribes. Hence the ideals of preserving and propagation are strongly embedded into religion. Religion will lap up any idea that will help it expand.
    The greatest lie on humanity is that religion is for individual enlightenment, but the truth is that organized religion works only for its own preservation and propagation.

  10. Anirudh Kumar SatsangiDecember 13, 2009 11:13 AM

    Kindly let me know what is c^2 in E=Mc^2. Whether speeds equal to c^2 exists or it is hypothetical.

    Anirudh Kumar Satsangi
    Dayalbagh Educational Institute
    (Deemed University)
    Dayalbagh, Agra

  11. Good one. I have been reading all posts of ur blog and this is the first one that i agree completely. Seems like all ur posts are based on controversial topics alone...

  12. Not all religions abhor science.


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