On Corruption and Technology- A Debate Speech

26 10 2015

The transcript of the opening speech that I made, in a debate competition  held at IIT Madras CLT, on 26th October 2015, on the eve of Vigilance awareness week.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I oppose the motion : “recent improvements in technology engender new ways to protect tight networks of wealth and power and are therefore more likely to enhance corruption than prevent it”

At the outset, let me mention that my argument is a qualified position. The foundations of my reasoning does not emerge from any Huxelian vision, although it certainly is reinforced with a sense of history. I wish to state my case in the reverse order of terms framed in the motion statement.

Let us perform a thought experiment. Imagine that government of India chooses to place five rupee coins in a huge open jar on this podium with a banner “this belongs to the sovereign and shall be distributed to needy children for buying toffees”. There are no measures to protect the money, or ways to determine the neediness or what is the age limit for definining children. But at least we do know that the intended beneficiaries are not students of IIT Madras. Given the population mix of this institution- its age, economic background and level of education, we can expect that a large majority of people present here might honour the intend of Indian government. Well of course, a rare few mischievous ones might steal, given that no protection is available, for the fun of it or just because easy money is available. It might be a totally different situation if we were to place this jar near a statue at Anna Salai.

Now, let us play the game of raising stakes. Imagine the case where we have 100 rupee notes in a box. Government of India wishes this to be spent on providing two square meals a day for the poor; again unprotected and improperly defined. This time, the situation will definitely change a bit. None of the people present here are underfed, or so I hope. Still, a couple of free 100 bucks for the mobile data recharge is not a bad deal after all! It is easy money, although Government does mention about poor people, I’m sure that at least a few will reason that this money will any way be pocketed by the agents who are responsible for implementing the scheme. We know these rascals, don’t we? Some might think it was stupid of the government in the first place, although it does not prevent them pocketing a few notes. Again raise the stakes by putting 1000 rupee notes and gold coins, with a wish to create a new school for under privileged children. The number of angels will go down as the stakes are made higher while protection measures and implementation procedures remaining the same. To be noted is the fact that here will always be people who abstain from this form of corruption. But why did the number of Devils increase? Is it because money is the root of all evil?

Corruption, or at least its massive proliferation, is a systemic issue. It is not a moral issue. If it were, the moral science classes from the convent schools or Bharateeya Vidyabhavans, or classes on ethics conducted at Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute for that matter, should have made all of our IAS officers upright people. It is not a question of ruling political ideology either; at least not in its widely understood sense. If it were so, a large many party bosses from CPSU should have been the favourites even after the fall of the Berlin wall. Let it be the case of Laissez-faire free market utopia (an absolute Libertarian dream though not fully acknowledged) in today’s Somalia or the mercantile capitalism period of the 18th century. They should have solved the problem of production, distribution and justice once and for all, or at least by and large!


Corruption, in my opinion, is largely the result of misalignment in power, responsibility and accountability. My argument is not that corruption is simply a delivery problem, the popular version of which is known by the mantra good governance, but that even a structural question has a system dimension when it comes to implementation. Given any structure, combating corruption is an institutional challenge which can only be achieved by placing the right set of checks and balances, and incentivising good behaviour. This is something places like Singapore and Hong Kong understood, and came to tackle, mostly with success. I am not trying to bring down the comparison to relatively smaller and arguably less complex societies. This is an attempt to point out that there is a huge systemic aspect.

Concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few, is a perennial theme. In fact, it is as old as the history of human civilisation which has found resonance with people at different space and time. We find this discussion in Plato’s Republic, Chanakya’s ‘Arthashastra’ and Machivelli’s Prince, from various perspectives of course. And yet there is no definitive solution acceptable to all, or a majority, so to say, to this problem. We have seen that historically, this concentration has resulted in certain forms of usurping. It also need to be acknowledged that this process has propelled greed, created scarcity and resulted in denial of justice, at least in a long run, in almost all of the places. 

My second argument comes from a historical premise. The networks of wealth and power are self preserving entities. Even in a stagnant society, as it were during say the Dark ages, they did survive. The ones who were able to adapt and evolve with time  definitely stayed longer. But irrespective of the presence of the variable new technology, they made every attempt to stay buoyant, mediating through structures and choosing courses of actions that they had thought  as beneficial for survival. My proposition is that the relationship is inverse; it is not the technology that create structures with concentrated wealth and power- the military industrial complex, if you will, but the existing ones adapt the technology faster often strengthening their position.

The licence raj in India was no paradise for a common (wo)man at the expense of the Tatas and Birlas. An inefficient and expensive telephone system, in which a lightening call – as it was called for a privileged instant long distance call – to a distant town was charged at 12 times the normal rate but had as much probability of dialling the right destination as the toss of a coin, or a single channel television in which news meant reporting things that minister in charge approved of, if anything had presented with an increased possibility of bribery or denial of justice at large. While it is true that today a multinational conglomerate could buy the mainstream media for a cover-up, the proliferation of internet and more independent cyber media, has opened up a fighting chance, however small it is. And finally my favourite anecdote to explain this point: abolishment of slavery was not an really an act of Christian charity, not by the Southern gentlemen who prided themselves for faith at any extend, but largely due to the industrial revolution, however imperfect it were, that had engulfed the North.

My position is that development in technology, by and large, has played a significant role in democratising the world and hence reducing corruption of all forms. Slowly and steadily, science and technology is taking material wealth, information and ideas to the masses to whom it were denied through out the history. This is not necessarily a linear process and shall have ups and downs. Yet, to me the trend is definitely towards better.

My third proposition is that whatever should you mean by the word recent developments, whether we like it or not, all technological feats will proliferate into the masses at a rate faster than before. One only need to look at the time it took for radio to become a part of every Indian household, and compare it with television, then telephone, the mobile phone and today’s smart phone! This process is irreversible, at least for a foreseeable time into the future, even with the most regressive patent laws, attempts to bring Orwellian cyber-laws or surveillance mechanisms. For a project like PRISM by NSA of US, or its Indian counterpart if any, there shall also be Edward Snowdens to expose. The app world citizens could be easily tracked, and perhaps framed for wrong reasons. Agreed. But they also are able to report crime and corruption faster than ever. They can keep a check on how complaints are dealt better than before. What ails us in reaping the benefit are our sluggish institutions. Spectrum auctions might present opportunities for the rich and powerful to make money, but e-governance and checks for maintaining transparency shall be the very seeds that could expose them.

Let us be clear that all power structures- ruling benches, social structures or bureaucracies – seek survival, pretty much like human beings. While technology need not provide the ultimate solution to all structural issues, it is indispensable on the implementation side, and in particular for increasing the efficiency.

I would like to conclude by saying that despite every questionable practice done with the help of technology, solutions to our structural as well as systemic issues can only be materialised with better aligning the existing, or perhaps better, technology with ethical considerations. Like it or not, designing institutions towards this goal present the key. Bashing technology or wrongly accusing it as if it were a conscious individual or a scheming enterprise, will not solve the problem of corruption, or concentration of wealth.

Thank you.


PS: I had to cut down on some parts, because of time limitations (5 minute opening) that I came to know only before entering the stage. All the same, got second prize. 🙂

Advertisements




IITs and higher education- It is not all about money, honey!

7 06 2013

The mood at IIT Madras is by and large pensive. Some of the students are agitated and everybody is concerned about their future. The hostel seat rent, gymkhana fee and the medical insurance fee have all gone up. The effective fee hike (tuition + living expenses)for PG students and research scholars comes to 40% and the new B.Tech’s will have to pay Rs. 90K as annual tuition fee in place of Rs. 50K. The increase is applicable to all courses in more or less the same proportions. But there are more reasons for apprehension than a one time fee hike. The officials have categorically told that the hostel seat rent will be further increased in the coming semesters. The Kakodkar committee report titled ‘Taking IITs to Excellence and Greater Relevance’, has proposed to raise the UG fee to the level of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per annum, while there is a lot of ambiguity with respect to the post-graduate fee and support. Further more, the case of economically backward students, which by the way are people who cannot afford to raise approx. 12 lakhs over the four years for an education (that would be more than 95% of Indians), is addressed with wishful thinking, assurances and in my opinion, a dangerous idea of involving banks, loans and debt.

Image

Scenes from the protest march conducted by IITM students against fee-hike and privatization of higher education.

A panel discussion on the broader issue of privatization of higher education was held on 6th June, 2013 with Dr. Rahul Sidharthan from IMSc, Chennai, Dr. Venkitesh Artreya, former HoD Economics, Bharatidasan university (also an IIT alumnus from the 64′-69′ batch) and Mr. Jimraj Milton, lawyer and social activist. I was fortunate enough to be the moderator, whose role was limited to explaining the context of the discussion, introducing the speakers and laying down the guidelines for the discussion. Rahul Sidharthan has given a more or less fair summary of the discussion along with his views in his blog. I thank him for initiating such a discussion in the cyber space. Barring a few emotional responses, rhetoric and out of context statements (which were to be expected given that students were very much concerned), it was an open exchange of views. In deed, we need more of such exchanges touching up on various aspects of education (both basic and higher), health, science and technology policy etc. It is especially relevant given that we live at a time when Parliamentary discussions are considered nuisance by the executive and all important policy discussions are imposed without a proper debate. It is a hope against hope to be able to challenge this manufactured consensus. But one has to try.

The level of sympathy for IIT students in issues like fee-hikes among the public is quite low. It is understandable given the picture painted about these holy cows, and even justifiable to the extend that many, if not all, get a free ride for their life because of the IIT tag and many among them apparently do not contribute to the society that gave them these riches. This is not a new question either. The term brain drain has been there in vocabulary since a long time. Given the nature of people at large, moving to greener pastures are to be expected in any given system for idealists will always be a small percentage. But one should not confuse between issues here; making IITs self-financed and more dependent on the forces of capital is neither the solution to the problem of so-called brain drain nor going to bring excellence. It is this aspect that I would like to highlight through this post, which hopefully will be one of the many posts to be published about this issue.

As often said, houses are more than bricks and mortar, institutions are more than the money invested. If it were, as Dr. Rahul Sidharthan himself pointed out in his blog, private universities must have out smarted any centrally funded Indian universities all of which are pygmies by any international yard stick, by now. The reputation of institutions are built by its faculty, alumni and intellectual contributions. If IITs retain a reputation, however meagre or far from desirable, it is because they are by and large the only technological institutes in the country which have made headway in delivering quality education. If the aim of the Kakodkar committee report was to increase quality, increased fee from students does not make any sense since it will definitely discourage most people from the lower middle class and everyone from the working class. The mushrooming of expensive IIT coaching institutes is definitely an issue that need to be tackled and it is long due by now. This is a major issue both from the point of equity – i.e. only those who are able to afford an expensive coaching is likely to get into IIT – as well as quality – coached students have a better chance to make into IITs, over several naturally intelligent people with good aptitude. But how do we do it- by asking people to pay more?

Let us just look at the scenario logically. After such drastic fee-hikes, the people with more than, say, Rs. 10 lakh per annum will still send their wards to those expensive coaching centers. Their business might be affected, but only marginally. The dreamy middle classers will work harder and mostly perish. The ones who go for coaching will face a double jeopardy. Unless the pattern of exams changes drastically so that coaching will hardly help, the people who end up in IITs would  have spend as much money on coaching, but the parental income range of the incoming students will have a sharp upward shift. So we will have an exclusive club of elite Indians with very few lower middle class and virtually no one from the working class. It is argued that IIT UG’s come mostly from elite and upper middle class families and now, they will be much more exclusive.

Undergraduate education at IIT has a huge market for sure. But I doubt whether the committee or the people who support such astronomical fee-structures in a country where the per-capita income is Rs. 53K (which even by purchasing power parity calculation is less than 1/13 th of USA) have thought about the access to education question. Let us take a comparison between the proposed IIT fee structure and in-state fees charged by much superior state universities in US – University of California, Berkeley & Purdue university.

IITs

UCB

Purdue

Tuition fee

$13,213*

$12,946

$11,792

State PCI

$3608

$22,711

$28,783

* The value arrived at a conversion rate of Rs. 56 per dollar and considering the fact that PCI of $1219 translates to $3608 in purchasing power parity terms.

Note that we have not taken into account the superior quality of education that UCB and Purdue provides. If I just move to the European continent, the picture itself changes drastically. We have countries like Germany where higher education is virtually free. One might argue that many US universities give cross subsidy by charging more up on out-of-state and international students. Even then, the fee as fraction of income level is much lower than the IIT scenario. Thus, even by the capitalist economy standards this is an abnormally excessive fee. Much more than that, the writing on the wall is clear- the elite institution should be exclusively for the elite Indians!

Does increasing fee and being “self-sufficient” in operational expenditures help improve quality? Remember, inside the institution we still have the same people doing same things. Attitudes and abilities does not change with source of funding and there is no incentive for the “fee paying” students to demand more since they have already reached what is believed to be the pinnacle of excellence in Indian system. If the argument is that foreign universities will come up with campuses in India and that will create competition, it should be worth while to see how well the satellite campuses of international universities have performed. Most of them thrive only based on the reputation of their main campus- i.e. the value of the brand name and nothing else. There is no incentive to do advanced university research in India primarily because of the lack of a strong industrial R&D, which is not going to emerge any time soon. In every country, fundamental research is mostly funded by the government and unless that funding goes up, we are nowhere in picture.

Most importantly, this is not a mere question of money, it is a question of principle. How do we value education? Is it a private good or a public good? While we can and should find ways to avoid free riders, increasing the fee is not the way forward. It is unfortunate that people suggest ‘soft loans’ or ‘super loans’ as solutions. As Prof. Milind Brahme opined during the panel discussion , you are coercing people into a system that most people morally detest. This is not just entrapping future generations of students, but clipping their imagination and creativity for ever. More over, going by the Indian experience, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If government is ready to divorce IITs, the situation in none of the state or centrally funded universities is going to be different in times to come.

To be continued …..





Vishvamitra poorNa kaNa (Higgs Boson) confirms the affirmations of the ecclesiastical Vedic philosophy

5 07 2012

There couldn’t possibly be a starker symbolism for such profuse vanity than the jubilation of the western world and their Indian compatriots after the ‘discovery’ of the Higgs Boson, emphatically called the God particle. As always, the blindness which has remained in the cultural roots of that civilization came out in open. But I would personally blame fellow Hindus for remaining ignorant about the sublime philosophy and highest level of mathematical sophistication that our Vedic civilization had achieved long ago. How else could we explain this phenomena of re-invention of wheel? Does it surprise you, O fellow Indian, that Higgs Boson, the name of which should have been Vishvamitra poorNa kaNa, was already mentioned in Rig Veda, the 10000 or more year old sacred philosophic and scientific text?

Let us begin with the very first verses of Rig Veda.

“agním īḷe puróhitaṃ”

The Indologist conspirators and the Macualay-Marxist traitors among our country men had long interpreted this as “Agni I invoke, the housepriest”. Every self-respecting Hindu should take this profane interpretation as an insult to our great civilization. In fact, the term agním should be interpreted taking into consideration the word aagneya which, is the direction of fire and one of the eight directions – the aShta digs. So are they referring to fire or the priest here? No, but the Western science discovered the eight-fold symmetry in the subatomic particles only after the American physicist Murray Gell-Mann, which he wrongly attributed to Buddhist eight-fold path. In fact, the subatomic symmetry was clearly known to our forefathers 10000 years ago. So agni is one of the directions of symmetry.

If we look closely at the next word puróhitaṃ, which again is misinterpreted as priest by the arrogant Europeans and ignorant Indians, it is the combination of pu and róhita, the former of which represent the ultimate masculine (or energy based) and the later points to the first rays or the red colour. It is not talking about a male who worships or performs in fire (red) but the source of all the cosmic radiations at the lowest range in the visible spectrum.

Reading together what we find is the ultimate subatomic symmetry and the source at the lowest scale or the fundamental explanation for matter. Now have a look at the word īḷe which again is misinterpreted by these anti-Indians as just a combining verb. īḷe means the missing link or the one which is not easily detectable. They even ignore the fact that in many Sanskrit abundant languages like Malayalam this word has a softened version ile, meaning ‘not there’. Clearly, they couldn’t have missed that Rig Veda starts with the mention of what these people today know as Higgs Boson. Surprised!

We could attribute these false interpretations to their lack of knowledge in spiritual matters and lack of depth in their philosophy, but how could they miss out the starting verses of Isha Upanishad:

Om
Purnamadah Purnamidam
Purnat Purnamudachyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya
Purnameva Vashishyate
Om shanti, shanti, shanti

The infinity we are talking about is the universe and shanti, the basic unit which is missing cannot be anything but the so-called Higgs Boson. So let us take pride in our great civilization and achievements. Be a proud Hindu and say it aloud that we knew about Quantum Mechanics, particle physics, eight-fold symmetry, relativity, string theory and even Higgs Boson much before you people began to understand the laws of mechanics. We should rename this as ‘Vishvamitra poorNa kaNa’ giving credit to the author of the hymn or at least as ‘Vyasa Boson’ and start an online petition immediately. Every patriotic Hindu who respects his culture and its achievements should share this.

Jai Hind. Vande Maataram (three times)

Yours sincerely

Proud I-net Bharateeya


Edit 1: The actual name of this should have been ‘Vishvamitra poorNa kaNa’ which has been added to the title after a suggestion from a fellow Bhaarateeya. But even Vyasa Boson could be acceptable in the worse case although it will not be accurate.

PS: If people do not understand what tongue in cheek means, it is not my problem. 😉

© Some rights reserved. More masalafication permitted but the PS (and the whole BS) should be retained. Also published at Bodhicommons and as a facebook note.





Hey, Teachers! Leave us kids alone

21 10 2006

Pink Floyd does have a song that could be associated with a thought. This time it was not his song which provocked me to write this. I was about to complete the book Genius (the biography of Richard P Feynman) and the central image of a natural genius that Feynman was, made me think a lot. Especially his comments about the Brazilian education system which according to him defines learning as mere memorizing than understanding. The best joke in this regard came from Prof. Balakrishanan of IIT Madras in his forward to the Indian edition of Lectures in Physics by Feynman, Sands and Leighton: “Give examples of Quantum Mechanics” and the answer from an Indian university student turns out to be, 1) Hydrogen Atom 2) Particle in a Box 3) Harmonic oscillator 3) Tunnelling Electron 5) Schrodingers Cat! And when asked why five, we have the stereotype answer- “because it is a five marks question!” 🙂

Much deeper beyond the jokes, have we ever thought whether our general education system has served any better than an institution to systematically kill the genius inside every child? Have we ever given emphasis to understand things than mere textbook swallow and vomit? And more importantly, this process of curbing the diverse streams of thoughts and creativity happens in our very social instiutions; the moment a child is made to follow a religion or practise without ever allowing questioning it. Do we give any choice to our children- the very fundamental choices to decide his/her religious, social and political outlook without indoctrinating them, the freedom to speak his/her convictions aloud, and lately towards the end of youth even the decision about choosing a partner? As far as the general Indian society goes it is a big no. We want our children to be our dumb photocopies and we are not ashamed but rather boasting it as a great cultural tradition.

It is high time remould education. But first we need to challenge the traditional parental outlook and pedagogy followed. I had an experience recently which has made me convinced about its need.
My uncle’s son Vaisakh, fondly called Appu (9th standard in Dubai Indian School), asked a question to me. “Kannan chettan (he calls me by this name), why don’t cars and bikes run on water?”. The question seemed too trivial until I thought more deeply about how to explain it. The issue is that if I try to introduce terms like ‘calorific value’ in whatever simple language all I will be doing is reframing the whole question; old wine in new bottle. That is it. If I want to make him understand, I need to refresh my understanding, than memories of jargons and explanations. I should not tell him pedagogic thermodynamics or thermal engineering. But we have been trained to do just that. Or worse, just like what my aunty (or even my mother) does: “don’t you have any other business than pestering me with questions”.

“Alright Appu”, I said, “as far as I know bikes and cars can’t run on water. But let us try to find out why. We can’t possibly fill your Unni Kunnjachan’s bike with water and try. We will be in trouble.”
I drew the diagram of the internal combustion engine. The cylinder, the piston, the valves etc. I explained him in the simplest language, the way we get mechanical energy out of it. He listened to it with great interest and occassionally asking doubts

“Now tell me”, I said, “if I fill this tank with water, spray it inside the cylinder and give a spark, what will possibly happen”. He thought and said, “But Kannan Chettan, water can’t burn. When we pour water over fire it extinguishes…. Now why is that first”. I asked him to try sand, milk, etc too. Even they will work that way! Then I tried to explain, why it was so.

“So”, I continued, “you got the point, young genius and I’ll now tell why water doesn’t burn with this temperature.” It went on and finally I explained the diseal engine mechanism and worked out the pressure to be applied to compress water to the volume required by the engine and what might happen once released. We proceeded our discussion to steam engines, turbines etc.

Once we completed the whole thing, he had a glow in his eyes and complimented me, “Kannan Chettan, you truly know a great deal. How could you do such great calculations. I dislike maths.” I replied, “come on Appu, there is nothing great in those or the greatness lies in people who found those methods. The important point is that, don’t you realize that you got some picture of why we did not have water engines so far and I am sure a lot of more doubts. But do not stop with this, pursue more and perhaps you could even develop one water engine. Also when you have a question search for answers and when people just avoid you, experiment with available resources whatever others have to say. Haven’t you heard about Edison? And do not hate maths, just believe me, if you find it boring it just because you were taught in a very bad manner. When we get time I will tell you the interesting mathematics.”

Then came the call from home. “Appu, come back. You naughty kid. You need to know everything on earth other than your textbooks”. As usual it was aunty. I replied, “that is how geniuses are, Priya aunty” and winked back to Appu.

I remember that even I was pretty much like Appu, except that I did not dislike maths. I used to ask the same question. But I was replied with a sentence- “you can’t run an engine with water because it is impossible”. Now I realize the cruelty people did to me by those stupid replies, the dicouraging attitude in our families and even colleges where free thinking is never a virtue.

Isn’t it high time to think about alternatives? Or I’ll be singing this song ever more vocally- “we don’t need your education ….”





Intelligent Design Theory Vs Science

26 03 2006

I was just checking a mail in my gmail inbox when I happened to find a curious text advertisement link with an article entitled ‘Science that Backs Up Faith‘. It did not contain any surprising revelation and was in expected lines of a ‘Christianity Today‘ weekly. But something really shook me when I read through the whole article. The whole concept of Intelligent Design Theory although claimed by its proponents as a secular alternative scientific theory was being projected as the best weapon for supporting (dogmatic) religious faiths as against a rational dialogue. This is an interesting feature of any religious institution; ie. find shelter in some arguable scientific logic when in crisis and then propagate its age old dogmatic beliefs. A strange mixture of sophist arguments and ‘thou shall not since such is the logic’. If so what is the distinctive features of science and such religious supported pseudo theories?

The organisation called ‘Centre for Science & Culture’ and ‘Discovery’ has very many scientists working and propagating I.D. Theory. The have an FAQ about it. Hmm … that sounds nice. But let us go deeper.

1. What is the theory of intelligent design?

Ans:- The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection

Is it?. The obvious logical flaw in here is the casual usage of the term intelligent. What can be considered as more intelligent, let us say than human beings? If something is more intelligent than the best human brain, it has a very direct implication that all dynamics of its action can never be explained by human race at any point of time. So the purpose of science is futile in this regard. Scrap all questions and investigations about universe and believe what you feel like (aka go join a seminary and learn all those bull craps and never question for it is out of human reach).

Next comes the issue of what we perceive as intelligent. Out of a million possibility it is just one that can happen (if we exclude the multiverse theory). If we all – the people born as the result of that possibility – stand up and say that its probability was just one in a million and so it was directed does this fit to some logic? Well, if the change was well directed by whoever-it-be all that we think turns out to be the direct or indirect consequence of a directed thing. ie the outcome was predestined. There was no other possibility. So why bother to think about it at all. Or we might be thinking since that happens to be our destiny. So as per the theory even the upper hand of scientific community that rejects their claim is (or was) also the destiny. Why should they blame them (if they still use logic)? Further all foundations of logic is irrelevant since things happen because they are ought to. This might make a orthodox religious person happy but not a science student in me.

This has in fact been the stereotype response from religious bodies to scientific investigations. You can put a full stop to any investigation by introducing a God’s hand. It is a perfect theory. Also the most flexible one. This full stop can be put at where you like. Anywhere. So the very usage of intelligent design and supporting evidence that they project from scientific investigations is a parody in itself. They showcase evidence resting on the base of science and then try to redefine science by introducing an arbitrary element which is undefined. This is synonymous to a statement “English alphabets starting from a to z and punctuations are wrong and too incapable to write this language”. I think the fallacy inherent is quite obvious for any student of logic. The issue of encapsulation.

Other questions that it raises all becomes irrelevant when the founding logic itself is inconsistent. But let also try to discuss issues like ‘Darwinism’ and ‘Creationist’ arguments. Darwinian theory is not a theory complete in itself. It was the first rational investigation about the phenomena of life. It has its defect like most established scientific theories. But the point is its consistency with the scientific rigour. Science is not knowledge in itself. All it does is a methodical arrangement of knowledge. Thus it interconnects most information and observations with other natural phenomena by a rigorous and well explained logic. This is in direct contrast with religious methodology which bases everything on some age old faith which is unchangeable. Science too keeps some basic faiths, like universe is consistent and ‘laws of nature’ does not change with time. But there are no observable evidence or compelling logic to change these as of now. Still, if the need be, it will adapt with the new observations and redefine unlike religions. So a scientific debate about Darwinian theory should be based in the realms of science and not faith which contradicts established scientific notions at any level.

Well, the bottom line is that it may not be the ultimate truth (if at all something exists) that we might be heading to, but just some new vocabulary to address its manifestations. This process, with its discipline, constitutes science. It may not be the panache of all human issues in any age. But it certainly gives better insight about the physical universe as it proceeds through time. This is easily verifiable by the historical role played by faith based and scientific institutions in any age. Rationality may not be the key for all life questions, but its part is undeniable. Therefore, let faiths survive but let them never be the dominant factor but the balancing hand to inculcate some values for social stability.

PS:- I do not loath religions but certainly their dogmas and hegemony in social life.