About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Friday, January 19, 2007
An inspiring sight indeed
According to a radio report by BBC correspondent Geeta Pandey (who did not bathe herself, apparently), this is an “inspiring sight.” Why? What exactly is inspiring in witnessing the world's greatest gathering of human beings, all intent in showing to the rest of us how silly their superstition really is? To begin with (well, other than the business of offering-equivalents mentioned above), today is the day because of a relatively infrequent (though not particularly rare) alignment of sun, moon, Venus and Mercury into Capricorn. And you thought astrology was an exclusively Western piece of nonsense!
Moreover, apparently (according to an “expert,” but how can there be experts about nonsense?), “the planetary alignment is such that the sun rays, when they fall on the Ganges, turn the river water into nectar. So bathing here today is equivalent to drinking nectar.” Equivalent? How many calories are these people soaking up from all this water-nectar? And what's the connection between drinking nectar (but weren't they bathing?) and washing one's sins away? Moreover, what makes anybody think that “sins” (presumably, immoral actions) can be literally washed away by physically getting into water, holy or not? (Not to mention, of course, that every year several people drown during the ceremony, but I guess at least they're going to heaven with an extremely clean soul.)
Where is Richard Dawkins when you need him?