Cho refutes atheism... kind of.
#1
This clip is in Tamil, but I'll try to give a gist of it here. This is a program on a local TV channel called Jaya TV.

The program is kind of a "mega-serial" drama revolving around a Brahmin family and every now and then it cuts to Cho and his sidekick who asks questions about Hinduism and Cho answers him. This particular clip follows after a brahmin character in the drama remarks that Atheism is nothing new.



The question asked was "From what the characters (in the drama) seems to suggest, it seems that Atheism is nothing new!"

Cho starts his answer by saying "It shows that this is not something you guys discovered today. You (atheists of today) seem to think you are so clever and inquisitive when in fact this philosophy has been around since the time of Ramayana, some lakhs and crores of years ago!"

Cho then explains the episode between Ram and Jabali and then goes onto comment "This kind of atheistic-talk is called Carvaka" and utters one big fat lie - "Carvaka means something to be ridiculed, something undesirable, something to be rejected". The rest of the clip, he is just reading out passages.

Note that the writers avoided asking direct question about existence of god, but instead asked about atheism. Cho, though being a lawyer himself (or maybe because of being a lawyer), never explains the other side of the argument and resorts to ridicule and downright lies. At the end of the clip, the viewer is no wiser about atheism or carvaka but is only force fed another helping of propaganda.

All that said, Cho's political commentary is often bold, cogent and well thought-out. But the minute he starts talking about religion, he's no better than a troll on youtube. It is certainly sad and disheartening.
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#2
Cho is very popular in Tamil Nadu and his words are immensely influential, but I don't think most people in this forum know who Cho is, so here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cho_Ramaswamy

Two things about the content.

1. We could get Dr. Kamath or someone else to check the Ramayana and see if he got it right.

2. Is Jaya TV slanted towards "woo"? What about Sun TV, the other big Tamil channel? I ask because Jayalalitha is worshipped as God and Karunanidi is atheist (and the associates of these two leading political rivals in the state own the respective TV channels).
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
"some lakhs and crores of years ago!"

okay that was enough, no need to go further.
|God is Dead|
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#4
(16-May-2010, 11:11 PM)Varun Wrote: "some lakhs and crores of years ago!"

okay that was enough, no need to go further.

LOL, Varun, if only most people could think that way. You'd be surprised how often people will label your understanding that humans didn't even exist "crores" of years ago as a dismissal! It comes down to education. It is impossible to talk coherently about religion with these people because they do not have the basic scientific knowledge to evaluate factual claims about the world.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
(19-May-2010, 12:56 PM)Ajita Kamal Wrote:
(16-May-2010, 11:11 PM)Varun Wrote: "some lakhs and crores of years ago!"

okay that was enough, no need to go further.

LOL, Varun, if only most people could think that way. You'd be surprised how often people will label your understanding that humans didn't even exist "crores" of years ago as a dismissal! It comes down to education. It is impossible to talk coherently about religion with these people because they do not have the basic scientific knowledge to evaluate factual claims about the world.

It is caused by a cognitive dissonance I guess?
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#6
Cho then explains the episode between Ram and Jabali and then goes onto comment "This kind of atheistic-talk is called Carvaka" and utters one big fat lie - "Carvaka means something to be ridiculed, something undesirable, something to be rejected". The rest of the clip, he is just reading out passages. - Bala

He is not lying when he says "carvaka means something to be ridiculed, something undesirable, something to be rejected"
He is telling the truth.
Carvaka literally means "sweet-talk" but it was always used in the sense of "glib-talk" by the religious commentators.

They always deride the "naastiks" (all those who oppose their ideas) by charging them with characteristics such as hedonism, unlawfulness, dishonesty and so on......

Even in the episode in Ramayan which was mentioned by Cho, the character Jabali is not an atheist in reality, but he is actually mocking atheists by playing the devil's advocate trying to pursuade Rama not to give up his throne.
His arguments go on the lines of "there is no after life, so why give up throne and suffer, when you can enjoy the fruits of life now itself"
when chided by Rama about his atheism, he immediately recovers and says, he said those words only out of his love for Rama and not because he did not know the True Dharma......
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#7
Dear Bala,
Thank you for getting a nice specimen to dissect.
“Cho's political commentary is often bold, cogent and well thought-out”, here as a journalist he was marketing or positioning himself like that, in his own thought if you see there will be no consistency (political views).
The reference to Ramayana does not prove that “Atheism” existed long back, since it’s a story. However Atheism did exist long back, in fact it existed before theism (obvious isn’t)
Now this “Carvaka” is a materialist philosophy, discussed during a period when people opposed ‘vedas’, even Buddhism and Jainism were agnostic and atheistic philosophy.
‘Ajita’ where did your name come from, it’s one of the 6th century philosopher ‘Ajita Kesakambali’ who promoted ‘carvaka’ actually materialism.
As cho says, no Atheist are claiming that their thoughts are modern, he with his voice modulation and gestures trying to prove his point without any facts.
What cho wants to say is that there is a reference to atheism in those days itself and he also claims that it is already thrown in dustbin.
But this very thought only has given birth to Buddhism and Jainism, however due to lack of scientific knowledge and technology; various things could not be disproved.
Jabali did speak as cho said in Ramayana but it is now irrelevant to the present atheistic arguments
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#8
(27-May-2010, 07:50 PM)drnbala Wrote: Even in the episode in Ramayan which was mentioned by Cho, the character Jabali is not an atheist in reality, but he is actually mocking atheists by playing the devil's advocate trying to pursuade Rama not to give up his throne.
His arguments go on the lines of "there is no after life, so why give up throne and suffer, when you can enjoy the fruits of life now itself"
when chided by Rama about his atheism, he immediately recovers and says, he said those words only out of his love for Rama and not because he did not know the True Dharma......

Dear drnbala
Jabali is a carvaka but not a very principled one. His arguments are very clear and cogent.
However when Rama threatens him with dismissal from his job, he says basically that his atheism comes and goes according to the times and so now he will keep quiet. Not because he loved True Dharma but because he liked his post even more.

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#9
Off-topic : For a second I though, Margaret Cho?! LOL. I love that woman.
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#10
I don't know who this Cho person is or what his significance in the Indian popular media is but anyone who cites mythology (Ramayana, in this case) and brings that as his arsenal to a logical argument about theism and atheism is a big FAIL. I wish I could comment further if only I understood what he says or what his significance is ( does not matter much in this case).

And as someone else already pointed out, the lakhs of crores of years (which translates to several tens of millions of years ago when T-Rex and Stegosaurus roamed the earth) ends it.
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#11
(23-Mar-2011, 02:27 PM)Emmy Wrote: I don't know who this Cho person is or what his significance in the Indian popular media is but anyone who cites mythology (Ramayana, in this case) and brings that as his arsenal to a logical argument about theism and atheism is a big FAIL. I wish I could comment further if only I understood what he says or what his significance is ( does not matter much in this case).

And as someone else already pointed out, the lakhs of crores of years (which translates to several tens of millions of years ago when T-Rex and Stegosaurus roamed the earth) ends it.

Well put Emmy.
"Life is but a momentary glimpse into the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it makes me sad to see so many people dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." - Carl Sagan
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