Tuesday, April 29, 2008

on creationism

here's a cross post based on one of my comments on a NY Times Article:

Religion should have no place in a civilized society. So much of peril has been brought upon our world by religious fundamentalists, and I am not just referring to radical islamists. I cannot stop myself from laughing my head off when creationists in the US argue that the Book of Genesis spoke about creation first. All I can say is that there are books in eastern religions that have spoken of creation 2 millenia before Jesus even strode this earth. Does it make Jesus irrelevant? The idea of creationism is beyond Christianity or the western view of religion. This thought has existed since time immemorial because of mankind's urge to explain their existence and without the tool called science various cultures have come up with their own explanations of the beginning of life as we know it. If Genesis has Adam and Eve, the Vedas talk about Varaha Avataram, so on and so forth.

I come from a very religious country and I can rather proudly admit that for all the ineffectiveness in our primary education system we have been able to keep god off from our science text books.

The development of rational thought and the scientific process has enabled us to explain a physical world that makes sense to us as a group. Things that were beyond our comprehension a thousand years ago are understood, researched and explained because of science. Religion had nothing to do with this progress. The rather simplistic explanations that religion has for explaining the beginning and meaning of life in itself are abhorring and trivialize the giant strides made by science in this regard.

Seriously, Adam and Eve and the evil python?


Inflation, Growth and other Structural Problems in India

I am sure it was a well deserved pay hike for the millions of PSU employees in India.  The sixth pay commission proposed sweeping changes to pay scales of government employees and as a result many would be given an arrears to account for the raises over the past two years.

Reports are trickling in that inflation in India is on the rise and that both the Finance Ministry and the RBI are taking all steps to somehow counter it.  Obviously, the ideal situation for a growing economy for India is to consistently achieve high growth rates coupled with medium to low inflation.  Now, that can only be achieved if the growth comes not merely from demand but also from supply.  India has done a reasonable job of doing this in the past decade or so.  However, the pay commission's report could not have come at a worse situation.  There are fears of global economic recession and it is not clear to what extent India is decoupled from US particularly.  Second, and more importantly, the millions of PSU and other government employees with huge amounts of disposable cash in their hands will be demanding and consuming more "goods" and "services".  The supply side will be slow to catch up for obvious reasons.  This will only fuel the already raging fires of inflation. 

There are big differences between farm growth rates, industrial growth rates and IT growth rates in India. These differences play a pivotal role in how increase in disposable incomes would contribute to further inflation in India.  And, I have not even touched upon the real estate bubble waiting to burst in many cities.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How many days of cricket in India did you say

I was an avid cricket fan for a long time. I myself was guilty of spending countless hours watching test and one-day matches played by our beloved cricket team during my college years. Somehow it seemed justified at that point in time, but this new thing called IPL is really bothering me now.

My concern in general cricket is taking up too much of our time in India.  As a nation it is clear that we are already obsessed with Infosys, religion, and cricket among other things.  Do we need to further obsess about how the daredevils beat the charges for over 60 days in any given year ?

Now, apart from this sixty days of madness, the national team is going to play another 40-50 one day internationals, one or two more tewenty20 series and a couple of test series.  it continues to amaze me that even with this much cricket going on people don't seem to be fatigued at all! I have made it more than obvious in soem of my other posts as to who much I hate the IPL and how it will kill a game as we know it.  Call it the future of cricket but I am sure that the twenty-twenty is here only for the interests of big business and th destroy a game that was so captivating when the likes of Richards, Kapil and Imran strode the grounds.  Now it is all about selling toothpaste, motorcycles and televisions.  Moreover, there is not much fun left in watching these too many games happening all the time.  I prefer the once in a while test series and a couple of one-day series once in a while. It was more romantic, took up less time and one could look forward to interesting sportsmanship.

What we get now, is like Cricket on Demand. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Blaming Miley Cyrus? Blame Hannah Montana first!

Latest in a series of scandals of Disney "idols" is the Vanity fair photo of Ms. Cyrus.  I am sure parenting blogs all over the earth are screaming for Ms. Cyrus' scalp.  well, to some degree they might be justified being parents of teen girls.  Hey! Wait a minute - aren't you the ones to be blamed to even allow some television character called Ms. Montana with a dual life to be your daughter's role model in the first place. no one can control any one else's life and if Ms. Cyrus wants to be herself, let her be.  It is for you to teach your kids that Ms. Cyrus is not Ms. Montana, and if you cannot do it then may God help you. Or rather may Murphy help you (I am trying to be an atheist and the only person I believe who can influence other's lives is Mr. Murphy).

So, will you go and sue Ms. Spears now because she was a Disney idol at some point in time. The truth of the matter is the issue does not lie in whether Ms. Cyrus is running around naked, but whether parents are allowing their kids to live in dreamscapes built on Disney's world in the first place.

I might be wrong in my arguments and maybe I cannot judge the full depth of the isue because I don't have a teenage daughter yet. But, I am learning quite a few things about Disney and its idols from all of this.