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Deepak Chopra : A New Age Shaman

July 9, 2009

A couple of excellent videos by Ajita Kamal at exposing one of television’s most famous new-age gurus and conman – Dr. Deepak Chopra

Total viewing time (~12 mins)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Here’s the link to the original post [Link]

How to Detect BS?

July 3, 2009

In our everyday lives, we are bombarded with a lot of misinformation and nonsense from a variety of sources. Some of them are very close to us – family, friends etc, while others are authority figures in our society – reporters, doctors, astrologers, religious leaders and not least of all scientists. But how much of this information is true and how can we  know whether a person is spewing mindless nonsense or has a valid claim?

In this video from RichardDawkins Foundation, famous atheist and editor of Skeptic magazine Dr. Michael Shermer gives us a list of 10 questions that he wants us to ask ourselves before  lending credence to any claim. Even though we may not need to ask all 10 questions in order to determine whether a claim is false or not, it is a great starting point to investigate  lot of unscientific claims. I am sure if you ask these questions about the things you are told you will find that many of them don’t stand up to critical enquiry. Try it out on the next pseudo-scientific claim you hear of.

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Mr. Deity

June 30, 2009

For the past month and a half, I have been going though a phase that I can only refer to as “blog-fatigue”. With  increasing work-loads (due to layoffs in our company) and imminent deadlines, finding time for this hobby has been difficult of late. Researching and writing posts for my blog and reading my favorite blogs and commenting on them has taken a backseat to the more immediate need of meeting deadlines.

I have learnt from experience that momentum and habit is a very important aspect  of blogging (or anything for that matter). Once the momentum slackens, it takes much more effort to revive a blog. In fact, that’s probably one of the reasons why so many blogs disappear into oblivion after a promising start (I guess, in addition to something that every blogger goes through – writer’s block).

So, with that in mind, I have decided to keep posting bits and pieces of interesting news, videos, links etc that I have come across to keep up the momentum and save the longer posts for times when I am more available to think and write about them.

Btw, I would also like to apologize to the readers of this blog for not being regular in replying to your comments or not managing to read some of your blogs. I hope to find more time soon to go through them.

Well, here are a few hilarious videos I came across from the famous Mr. Deity series, satirizing the God of the Bible. In these series of videos (there’s about 22 of them as of this writing and you can find them at or on youtube) God is seen discussing his plans with his assistant and Jesus about creation, evil, sin, the fate of humanity and various other things on earth. The videos are hilarious. Check them out.

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A Few Images of The Protests in Iran

June 17, 2009

For those of you who are following the protests over massive election fraud in Iran, I am attaching a few photos I came across (in case you haven’t seen them already). 

 The Iranian Government has been trying really hard to stop news or images coming out of Iran but thanks to twitter, flickr, youtube and other websites we have been able to see the real magnitude of the uprising. It’s thrilling to witness how technology has changed the rules of the game and empowered so many people fighting for their rights in Iran. I didn’t have the time to go through many of the photos (there are thousands) but some of the photos are a testimony to the police/government brutality and some are plain gruesome. If you find a photo, link or a video worth sharing please leave a link to it in the comments sections.

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The Scientific Case for Astrology ??!!

June 13, 2009

Does astrology have a scientific basis. Can astrological claims be validated by scientific methods (I understand that there are various types of astrology. Here I will be talking only about astrological predictions derived from natal charts)?

Recently, I had a chance to discuss this topic with a few friends of mine. Even though we disagreed, I think it was a fruitful discussion. So, in this post I will try to answer some of the questions which were brought up during the discussion and hopefully will also be able to clarify some commonly held misconceptions about the scientific method.

The debate about the compatibility of science and astrology has been going on for quite some time now. And, going by how many astrologers swear by it or the number of times we hear it repeated (ad nauseum if I may add) by our spiritual quacks in the mainstream media or by the “I-am-an-engineer-so-I-understand-science” crowd at parties and gatherings everywhere, you may think there must be some truth to it. But is there really? Do people making such claims even know what science constitutes? The statement “astrology is a science” seems to resonate more with Joseph Goebbels (the Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany)  famous words “A lie repeated a thousand times becomes a truth.”



So let us dive into the labyrinthine clutter of lies and false excuses and see if we can salvage a part of our lost self-esteem which we so selflessly sacrificed to those brain dead astrologers the moment we looked at our natal charts or even save a few billion neurons to keep us from moving down the IQ ladder to a range reserved for people who can only be referred to as “DUH”.

Shall we?

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Million Rupees Astrology Challenge

June 1, 2009

I was on vacation last week, so I am a little late in posting this report on the results from the One Million Rupees Election Results Prediction Challenge to Astrologers by the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations. 

Astrologers often claim that they can accurately predict the future of anything (not just personal fortunes but societal, geographic, financial etc) based on the position of the planets in our solar system. In fact, every election cycle, we see these charlatans on TV and newspapers, confidently predicting the election results (which often turn out to be incorrect). The Indian Rationalist Associations have been challenging astrologers to prove their supernatural claims and predict the election results for quite some time now. But, unfortunately every time a challenge like this had been thrown at astrologers, the planets, it seems had colluded against the astrologers to bring about their dismal failure ( often their performance is worse than what any of us could do with a simple coin toss).

This article summarizing the results of the most recent challenge was originally published on by Prof. Narendra Nayak who is the President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations. The full article is posted here with kind permission of Prof. Nayak and Nirmukta.

Full Article Follows


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An Important Scientific Discovery

May 19, 2009

I read about this fossil today on Pharygula. Those of you who find evolution interesting may find this discovery fascinating (although if I read correctly this was discovered in the 1980s but made public only recently). 

Via BBC News (check out the videos at this link)


The beautifully preserved remains of a 47-million-year-old, lemur-like creature have been unveiled in the US.

The preservation is so good, it is possible to see the outline of its fur and even traces of its last meal.

The fossil, nicknamed Ida, is claimed to be a “missing link” between today’s higher primates – monkeys, apes and humans – and more distant relatives.

But some independent experts, awaiting an opportunity to see the new fossil, are sceptical of the claim. 



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How to Start a Cult

May 16, 2009

Many of you may have already watched this video. In spite of it’s satirical tone, the video is quite insightful and shows pretty accurately how most cults operate. As someone who was once a member of a cult himself – The Art of Living Foundation – I can totally relate to the video especially between mark 6:00 to 7:20.

While watching this video, we have to remember that all parts of the video does not apply to all cults as each cult comes with it’s own innovative idea on how to brainwash it’s followers. But, the video is right on the money when it comes to exposing their goal and their modus operandi.

If you or someone you know were ever part of a cult and would like to share your/their experiences, I would be very interested in hearing from you.

Viewing time – 12:35 mins

A Quick Post (in a hurry)

May 16, 2009

Now, that the election results are out – Congratulations !! to everyone who voted/supported the UPA (even though unfortunately I couldn’t vote).  I am happy to see the BJP’s power and influence waning. Hope this trend continues. On one hand, I was elated to learn about the humiliating defeat of the communist parties in Kerala and West Bengal but was a little disappointed by the results in Karnataka.

Btw, does any of you think that India needs a law or constitutional amendment to prevent leaders like Lalu to contest elections from multiple constituencies ? If he had won from both constituencies wouldn’t he have to relinquish his seat in one? Wouldn’t it require wasting more resources to elect someone again from that constituency? I wish he had been defeated in both constituencies, but that’s a wish I would have to postpone for some other time 🙂

Will be back soon to answer the comments.

A Slave to God

May 12, 2009

A couple of weeks back, my wife and I visited a friend of mine, who lives in the same city as us. I have known this friend (I will call her BD) since my undergrad years and I knew  about her amaurotic passion towards anything religious. In an earlier life, we have had lots of discussions on the topic of God, religion, Hindu philosophy etc. but as time progressed, I found myself slowly drifting away from the path of unquestioning faith and blind devotion.  In the meantime, she seemed to have got sucked into the black vortex of religious blindness by a inexorable force .

Since, we were in different parts of the country then and were also busy with our own lives, we didn’t talk very often. Even when we did,  we hardly discussed religion because I realized after a while that it was a waste of time.  She had erected such a stubborn wall in her mind, between the worlds of logic and blind faith, that any attempt at showing her reason was dismally futile. While she continued to work on her PhD in Bioengineering, she seemed to have jumped headlong into the dark, bottomless abyss of supernatural nonsense. I watched in disappointment, as she got more and more entangled in the affairs of a Hindu religious organization (I will call it ‘CultX‘).


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Bits and Bytes

May 9, 2009

1. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about an elderly Hindu gentleman in the UK who filed a lawsuit in the British high court to fight for his right to be cremated in an open air funeral pyre.  This week the High Court delivered it’s verdict. Any guesses how it turned out? [Link]

2. Bill Maher laughs at people praying to get rid of the swine flu and the Texas board of education


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Muslims Organizations in Germany Sign Manifesto Against Sharia

May 6, 2009

It’s great to see some muslims finally taking the first bold step towards transitioning from laws based on bronze age beliefs to that based on contemporary secular ideals. It commendable on the part of certain Islamic organizations in Germany to have come together to condemn and oppose the regressive Sharia laws. Even though I am not sure how much support these 10 organizations can garner from the mainstream Muslim community, but it’s definitely an encouraging move [Link]

The Aims of the group are as follows

• To explain to Muslims the dangers contained in the Islamic religious texts, as well as the necessity of a reform of Islam
• To explain to non-Muslims the differences between moderate Muslims and Islamists (a.k.a. religious fanatics, radical Muslims, fundamentalists, extremists, Islamo-fascists)
• To inform both Muslims and non-Muslims that they are both the targets of Islamic terrorism 


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Greydon Square : Atheist Rapper

May 5, 2009

Greydon Square is an American hip-hop artist and an atheist who sings almost exclusively against religion and religious fundamentalism. Even though, I am not a big fan of hip-hop, I find his music a breath of fresh air. A noticeable shift from the swearing, cursing genre of songs with braindead lyrics to that of an intelligent, thought-provoking variety.

Here are a few of his songs for your listening pleasure. The lyrics are linked below.


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The Allure of Witch Hunting

May 5, 2009

A few days ago, I posted a video showing a barbaric act of witch-burning in Africa. Any sane person who has watched such diabolic acts will attest to the chilling monstrosity behind those acts. Today, I came across an excellent articleby Johann Hari at that tried to explore the human conditions which encourage and sustain such practices even in the modern world (Thanks Allytude for sharing the link).

In his article, Hari shares the story of a 12 year-old girl accused of witchcraft.

In a dull, blank rote, Clarice told me how she had let the demons enter her at the age of 12. One night, her late grandmother had appeared before her, at the end of her bed, and offered her a biscuit to eat. She promised Clarice that if she only swallowed it, she would become more powerful. But it was a trick. As soon as she ate it, she was betrothed to Satan and forced to do his work on earth. He forced her to jinx her father, making it impossible for him to get a job. Satan forced her to kill her little sister by giving her a deadly fever. Clarice had at first denied her intimacy with the devil, Papa Enoch told me disapprovingly. She protested it wasn’t true. But he finally made her ‘admit’ it, through a process of starvation and torture.

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A Few Dabs of Fresh Paint

May 1, 2009

For the last few weeks, I have been finding it increasingly difficult to devote time to this blog due to some pressing deadlines at work. Although, I did sneak in some time to read/comment on a few blogs (including mine), finding time to read up on news/opinions and post stuff on my blog has been getting somewhat tougher. So, instead of spending time writing posts, I decided to use the small amount of time on my hands to make a few changes to my blog.


Some of you may have already noticed that I have changed the theme of my blog. After looking through different blogs and trying them out, I decided to go with this theme (inspired byChirag’s and Indyeah’s blog). I noticed that the default font size on this theme was larger than the one my previous theme – ‘Connections’ (which is a big help) and the post windows were also wider. Another great feature which I liked was that I could add more than one text widgets to my sidebar, which was impossible with my previous theme. Even though this theme is probably less aesthetically pleasing, the white background is what I wanted to have. It’s simple, with hardly any bells and whistles, a better background for other colors and probably less distracting.


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How A Christian Missionary Lost His Faith while Living in The Amazon

April 25, 2009

Daniel L. Everett, a missionary and linguist, first stepped into the Amazonian jungle in 1977 to learn the language of the Pirahas – a hunter-gatherer tribe native to the Amazon. His intention was not only to learn the language of this remote tribe but also to translate the bible in their language and bring them to Jesus. What happened in the decades that followed was surprising. Living with the Pirahas – who do not have a word for god or religion – Everett learnt that one does not need belief in the supernatural to be happy. That people do not need to be “saved” by Jesus to live a life of contentment. These observations led Everett to question his beliefs critically and ultimately led him to reject his faith.

Everett recounted his experiences in his book “Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle ” (which I have added to my reading list). Following is a short account of his fascinating experience. 


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Srila Phabhupada And His Baseless Claim

April 23, 2009

I have often observed that most believers, when they come in contact with a guru or spiritual master, never question the veracity of the information presented to them or the motives behind the guru’s words. They assume that everything presented by the guru is somehow the unvarnished truth. Even when they do find something incredulous, to challenge a guru is often considered disrespectful in Hindu culture and may often lead to being ostracized by the guru’s community. Peer-pressure and self-delusion keeps them from opening their mouths even when they are presented with certain information that seems totally baseless or concocted.


Srila prabhupada (Via

Srila prabhupada (Via


Anyone who has carefully read the Introduction to the ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is‘   by Srila Phabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), knows what I mean. In his introduction to the Gita, Prabhupada made a bold, albeit suppositious, claim that the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya* ( disciplic lineage through which spiritual knowledge is passed)  to which he belongs,  started with Lord Krishna himself as the original spiritual teacher [Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 1989, soft cover: Page lxi

Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the original teacher of a chain of spiritual masters that continues to the present day. Jut as an unbroken wire delivers electricity, so, for the benefit of all mankind, this unbroken disciplic succession delivers the spiritual knowledge of Bhagavad-gita


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Burnt Alive for Witchcraft

April 19, 2009

I watched this video on Friendly Atheist’s blog and just couldn’t pass it up. This video is a testimony to the scale of monstrosity we humans are capable of and what better excuse than religion.  If you want to know why I dislike blind-belief and superstition so much, this video is a good example.

According to the info provided for the video, it’s a video of 5 elderly people (over 80,  out of whom 4 were women ) being burnt alive for witchcraft in western Kenya.

I am not going to describe the video as I don’t think I have the words to describe such cruelty and you may have to watch it yourself to understand it.

Please be warned that the video is extremely graphic.

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To Answer A Few Comments

April 15, 2009

Recently, a reader of this blog who goes by the pseudonym ‘Kaffir’ , had a few interesting questions and comments for me, and a few other readers of this blog. Even though ‘Kaffir’ did not mince any words to ask us about our beliefs 🙂 (which is actually a good thing), I thought most of his questions and comments are valid and I felt his questions needed to be answered.

I have had many passionate discussions with others on similar questions before and I know that even though such pointed questions are meant to nudge us off our comfort zones, they are meant to make us think. So, I would like to thank ‘Kaffir’for the questions and the comments on this blog. I think that such questions do facilitate discussion and help us understand the nature of our beliefs better, as long the people involved focus on the arguments at hand and not get carried away emotionally and launch into ad-hominems.

At present, I am a little hard pressed for time and may not get to answering all the questions however I will try my best to answer as many as possible (in this post and future posts if possible).  I chose to post my answers here rather than in the comments section so that readers who are not subscribed to the comments feed from that post can join us if they want. I will be paraphrasing the questions below as I understood them, but if anyone is interested in learning about the context of the comments, please feel free to look it up from the links below

 OK here it goes.


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What Secular Indians Need to Know About Islam – Part III

April 12, 2009

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2 of this post.

Recently while browsing through the Internet, I became aware that a particular section of secular Indians feel that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Islam and that Islam is perfectly OK. I am not sure if they view anything wrong with ANY religion. But if I am to venture a reasonable guess, I would think – they probably don’t. They probably think that all religions are great and IF ONLY humans didn’t distort religion the way they have, everything would have been perfect with this world. 

Now, I am sure that this section of secular Indians have noble intentions when they exonerate Islam of being hateful, sexist or homophobic, and I do not doubt their sincerity. But, I think they are either terribly ignorant about Islam and the real threat it poses or are being extremely naive. 

I started off my third and final post trying to answer/rebut all the questions/ assertions I have heard from secular Indians about Islam, but soon realized that it was making my post too long (this post already has 4 videos) and thought I might as well complete this series here and write a separate post discussing the questions/assertions forwarded by them (or wait to get some more questions). So, if anyone has any questions and would like to discuss the points mentioned in the documentary, I will be glad to discuss them in my future post.

Here are the last 4 videos of the documentary for anyone who haven’t watched them already.


Part 7 (Duration : 9:46)



 Points raised/Questions answered

1. The concept of ‘taqiyya’– or religious deception. When is a Muslim allowed to lie or cheat according to Islam?

2. Do fundamentalist muslims employ deceptive means to deceive non-Muslims? 


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