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Re: [bostonatheists] Yoga Lessons in public school

From: Paul G. B.
Sent on: Saturday, October 27, 2012 12:36 AM

  But Raja ... 

 The earliest written reference to the number "0" is in a 5th Century CE Jain text. Yet! From the fact that it is associated with a strange sect defined by some rather eccentric and inflated ideas about the cosmological significance of homo sapiens *and* who use the swastika as their holy symbol? From that it does not follow that "ZERO IZ DUMB AN' EVIL, DUDE!!?!" 

  I don't want to purge my life of eggplant curry, mogul art, or zero, just because they're each connected to one of the many odd, indian sects. I mean, I don't look at cathedral buildings and say, "That's a dogmatic christian ideological construction" (pun intended)"buttressed by" (another pun intended) "the power of religious suggestion". I look at it as a feat of civil engineering. Hauling rocks to that height is hard.  At a personal level, I find myself moved by the idea that generations of people have come through the building's doors in search of emotional succor. Buildings, ideas, art ... they're all points of connections with ancestors long dead, and children yet to live. 

  I'm a mildly weird kind of atheist. I've never believed, so I've not rejected anything. But my friends who have had "de-conversion" experiences tell me that they find the process of "re-connecting" just as difficult. Human beings have always acted and created. Not always for the best. But what they produced is only incidentally religious. 

 I had a de-conversion/re-connection experience of my own. Sir. Isaac Newton, I learnt in school, was a genius of the highest order; mathematician, physicist, inventor of ridges on coins. I idolized the idea of him. Poking knitting needles into his own eye sockets to understand optics? Inventing an entirely new way of thinking about the organization of numbers? What geeky teenage math-whizz boy can't admire that? Then I discovered that he was a deeply religious man, an alchemist, a bit of a wanker, and probably a virgin. Took a while, but the biggest lesson I learnt was that feet of clay on the part of the original thinker don't render their ideas worthless. 

 Our eternal struggle is to distinguish ideas which are spurious from ideas that are truthful, and useful. Many ideas with Indian are origins are shrouded in religion. But the personal value to be had in mindfully stretching your body way? It deserves at least a clear eyed examination ...

On Oct 26, 2012, at 5:44 PM, Raja wrote:

I think you do not see the obvious connection between yoga and supernatural fluff or between yoga and Hinduism because of the same reason that I had trouble in the beginning figuring out the connection between ID and creationism. It's possibly the cultural background. Yoga is always connected with hinduism and spiritual mumbo jumbo. It is packaged in the West under mysticism or something, but it always remained associated with Hinduism. I am glad that for the first time this covert  religious indoctrination is being challenged. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 26, 2012, at 7:35 PM, "Zachary Bos" <[address removed]> wrote:

"If ashtanga yoga is not teaching religion, intelligent design is neither, and we should be happily teaching intelligent design in public school. "

This doesn't follow. It depends on what exactly is being taught; you're binning all kinds of assumptions into the phrase "ashtanga yoga" which might not necessarily entail any kind of supernaturalist fluff. The comparison to the celebration of Halloween is a cogent one...

All best,

Zachary




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