Conspiracy Theories, Russell’s teapot, and Breast Tax


Conspiracy theories. They always get frowned upon. They receive instant and hostile condemnations from established academies, intellectuals and scholars. These Theories recognized as wild imaginations of individuals or groups, who probably promote every silly epiphany as a serious hypothesis. Why should any entity spend their valuable time and resource to validate a wild thought, probably occurred to you during your bathroom break? How can you believe something which has zilch of evidence and who has the burden of proof? Can absence evidence for otherwise being true can itself be proof?

Unsure who the creator is , happy to credit him/her if shown right source.

BTW There is a term for this, it is called “Russell’s teapot theory”. Russell argued that there is a teacup orbiting between Earth and Mars! He argues that he does not have to prove it to me, as long as I can not disprove an orbiting pot. Does that mean there is an actual teapot orbiting the sun? The burden of proof should be the responsibility of one who claims.

These theorists, however, blame it on the very establishments who are trying to cover it up on behest of certain ideologies and vested interests. For example, there is a theory claiming Americans never went to the moon, and they did it to win the space race. They argument discounts the magnitude of effort involved in covering up something as big as a moon landing. Also, there is a mob load of YouTubers crediting aliens on all excellent stuff humans built such as Pyramids, Stone Henge and Ellora caves and so on. My job is not to debunk them, but I would not congratulate a distant alien race for having built a few crazy pieces of stuff on earth.

Conspiracy theories, however, should never be discounted for 100%. In my opinion, there is a teeny tiny possibility that they may be right. As a matter of fact, most of the ground-breaking scientific ideas were once conspiracy theories. Hope you remember Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and so many more who questioned monopoly of knowledge, faced state-sponsored inquisition and persecution. Few more scientists were burned at stake, pulled by a horse, and even thrown down from a building. At that point of history, they all were conspiracy theorists.

Historically Indians gave a better treatment to Theorists as compared to their European counterparts. When Shankaracharya and Madhvaacharyas disputed on the singularity of the duality of God, we accepted and celebrated it. Charaka claimed that “There is no God and all you have heard before are conspiracy”. Therefore, “please sell all your property to take a loan and eat Ghee and enjoy your life”. We Indian celebrate his theory him as well. This was probably unimaginable in another part of the world.

My incantation to giving them the benefit of the doubt has a reason. I have seen many such theories turning into a truth, just in my lifetime.

  • Jagadish Chandra Bose (link) invented radio waves, not Marconi was a Conspiracy theory in the 90s. It’s not any longer.
  • Coconut was called as pure poison and named the main culprit for cardiovascular diseases. We Indians called this out in the 90s as conspiracy theories. Now it is a superfood.
  • Similarly, a lot of sane minded people challenged the exclusion of dietary Fat in American prescribed diet. It was called an FDA conspiracy on behest of a few large companies? In 2015. After an obesity pandemic later, FDA not only includes Fat in the prescribed diet, it even removes the % limit of it!

Finally, I wanted to inspect one conspiracy theory making rounds nowadays. Take it with a pinch of salt and let me know what do you think.

During days of a princely state of Travancore (present-day Kerala) lower caste women had a tax on “upper cloth”. In other words, only either of uppercase women or women practicing Abrahamic religions can cover their torso, no one else can. Noncompliance to this will lead to severe consequences to a varied extent. This indeed sounds very terrible, demeaning and gruesome. The tax was allegedly called Moolakaaranam in the native language of Malayalam. Legend is, Nangeli – a woman of Ezhava community, cut off her Brest and offered it to Tax collectors. This eventually caused an uprising and riots etc. There is even a movie about it on YouTube

Humans are known for being inhumane, and this seems rock-bottom of human decency. But I did not doubt this story, till the BBC picked up for circulation. As you are aware, BBC notoriously gives stepmother treatment to India while hailing Paki land as utopia. I can give you a few more examples where BBC blamed Indians/Asians for the crimes did not have anything to do with Indians. For these reasons, I am very sceptical about anything they publish. This is what I found during my research :

Painting of 19th Century Queen of Kerala by Raja Ravivarma
  1. There are loads of photographs of upper cast women, including the queen, bare-chested. Evidently, it was part of Kerala culture, and it did not look like it was limited to a class and caste. “ custom has in it nothing indecent when it is universal,”
  2. Alarmingly, Brest tax does not find any reference and literature beyond 2001. If the alleged tax were correct, it should have appeared in a lot of literature of previous centuries.
  3. There were many contemporary brutal dictators in and around Asia who were big fans of subjugating Women. All of them traded in the coast of Malabar. If such a subjugating practice were to exists‌ in Kerala, that would have caught on and propagated to other like-minded kingdoms.
  4. British were ruling India during then, and they had a habit of recording anything and everything, including their bathroom schedules. There are several British reports of that time which covers the life in Kerala. And surprise, surprise, no Moolakaaranam!

I do not know the truth, it is too ambiguous as of now. If the tax were to be accurate, it is a big black mark on our history, not just Kerala. And if this is work for fiction, then this essentially means that a group is manufacturing a Legend just to malign Kerala. This is unacceptable.

Let me know your thoughts.

George Carlin on religion


Another Gem by George Carlin. I conclude he is the most hilarious, ruthless, honest public intellectual ever! I mean, look at this line on GOD “…. he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! …But He loves you.!!”

If you love this, you may like his saving the planet as well, have a look.

When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.

No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on.

And immediately, I thought of the sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can’t see the sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I’m big on that. If I can see something, I don’t know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we’re not setting people on fire simply because they don’t agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There’s no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don’t have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I’m unworthy. Doesn’t tell me I’m a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn’t said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun. But, I don’t pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn’t presume on our friendship. It’s not polite.

I’ve often thought people treat God rather rudely, don’t you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday His day off. It’s not nice. And it’s no way to treat a friend.

But people do pray, and they pray for a lot of different things, you know, your sister needs an operation on her crotch, your brother was arrested for defecating in a mall. But most of all, you’d really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eyepatch and the clubfoot? Can you pray for that? I think you’d have to. And I say, fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.

So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the sun. But, as I said, I don’t pray to the sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I’ve been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don’t. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit’s foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat’s testicles, it’s all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.

And for those of you who look to The Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that’s a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I’m sure you’ll like that. Then there’s Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that X-rated part where the Big Bad Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn’t care for, by the way. And finally, I’ve always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” That’s because there is no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.

In fact, I’m gonna put it this way. If there is a God, may he strike this audience dead! See? Nothing happened. Nothing happened? Everybody’s okay? All right, tell you what, I’ll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened, oh, wait, I’ve got a little cramp in my leg. And my balls hurt. Plus, I’m blind. I’m blind, oh, now I’m okay again, must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God Bless Joe Pesci. Thank you all very much. Joe Bless You!

transcript

Secularism A Short Film


A Short Film by David M. Beadle. Robert G. Ingersoll wrote this essay in 1887, the message is as urgent today as it was 127 years ago

Complete essay by Robert G. Ingersoll (source)

SEVERAL people have asked me the meaning of this term. Secularism is the religion of humanity; it embraces the affairs of this world; it is interested in everything that touches the welfare of a sentient being; it advocates attention to the particular planet in which we happen to live; it means that each individual counts for something; it is a declaration of intellectual independence; it means that the pew is superior to the pulpit, that those who bear the burdens shall have the profits and that they who fill the purse shall hold the strings. It is a protest against theological oppression, against ecclesiastical tyranny, against being the serf, subject or slave of any phantom, or of the priest of any phantom. It is a protest against wasting this life for the sake of one that we know not of. It proposes to let the gods take care of themselves. It is another name for common sense; that is to say, the adaptation of means to such ends as are desired and understood.

Secularism believes in building a home here, in this world. It trusts to individual effort, to energy, to intelligence, to observation and experience rather than to the unknown and the supernatural. It desires to be happy on this side of the grave.

Secularism means food and fireside, roof and raiment, reasonable work and reasonable leisure, the cultivation of the tastes, the acquisition of knowledge, the enjoyment of the arts, and it promises for the human race comfort, independence, intelligence, and above all liberty. It means the abolition of sectarian feuds, of theological hatreds. It means the cultivation of friendship and intellectual hospitality. It means the living for ourselves and each other; for the present instead of the past, for this world rather than for another. It means the right to express your thought in spite of popes, priests, and gods. It means that impudent idleness shall no longer live upon the labor of honest men. It means the destruction of the business of those who trade in fear. It proposes to give serenity and content to the human soul.

It will put out the fires of eternal pain. It is striving to do away with violence and vice, with ignorance, poverty and disease. It lives for the ever present to-day, and the ever coming to-morrow. It does not believe in praying and receiving, but in earning and deserving. It regards work as worship, labor as prayer, and wisdom as the savior of mankind. It says to every human being, Take care of yourself so that you may be able to help others; adorn your life with the gems called good deeds; illumine your path with the sunlight called friendship and love.

Secularism is a religion, a religion that is understood. It has no mysteries, no mumblings, no priests, no ceremonies, no falsehoods, no miracles, and no persecutions. It considers the lilies of the field, and takes thought for the morrow. It says to the whole world, Work that you may eat, drink, and be clothed; work that you may enjoy; work that you may not want; work that you may give and never need.

The Independent Pulpit, Waco, Texas, 1887.

Ophiuchus – the 13th Zodiac sign


Ophiuchus will be in newspaper columns soon! Are you worried? Did you lose your sleep over it, yet? Do you feel betrayed that your whole life you were told about (yourself) and now you are not! Actually I don’t give a rat’s ass on this new change in zodiac, just that I need to convey few long pending victory laughs, to those friends who called it part of Astronomy. Eee Ha ha ha (Amrish Puri style)!

Right, back to the topic. This is what happened recently: Few astronomers finally found some time to have a look at this stuff called Astrological (the non-science part of stars, constellation stuff) zodiac signs. They found discrepancy and their calls on Astrology are:

a) Zodiac constellations (news paper ones, not scientific) were designed by Babylonians based on placement of constellation couple of thousand years back, and earth axis changed since then making the whole Zodiac system inaccurate. So, could you please correct it? Enough fooling people!

b) Are still stuck in 12? We told you 13 is the number for the boundaries. So now, add it. The name’s Ophiuchus, “The Ophiuchus”. And to embarrass you, for making him wait 3000 years to get into the committee, he will have a strange sign, wrestling a snake between his legs! (Really! what kind of pervert can come up with that!)

13th sign of the Zodiac: Ophiuchus

image source

c) Could you please (I added this) stop linking these constellation with personal traits? We know you pulled this stuff from your ass.

This was the story, and there was panic from every corner of the world. It’s fun to watch J

General public feeling betrayed. Let me remind you, betrayed people tweet in block letters! Astrologers panicking, planning on how to pull together some “personal traits” for this new Ophiuchus guy. It’s been a couple of thousands years since they did something like that.

Indian astrologers must be in bigger dilemma, not sure if they plan to copy the Zodiac system from west once again, which wasn’t synced since they first copied it from Greek.  Sure its going to be fun to watch astrologers come up with excuses, they need to answer for all the marriages they broke and made based on Zodiac.

Once again, from my fav comic ape not monkey

a-new-astrological-sign