Nan Ding Annotations

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 12:59am


thigmotropic tendrils of “universal” science (213)

Another metaphor about how science is similar to plants but different plants. Unlike Roy's "stolonic" metaphor which is more positive and all about possibilities, thigmotropism seems more aggressive. It latches onto another plant (in this case the already-established Indian myths and traditions) and grows with it. An interesting power dynamics that worths more attention.


 Mythological stories are often ofered as evidence of this technoscientiic proiciency: gods traverse the skies in lying chariots (evidence that ancient Hindu civilization had invented lying machines), there are hybrid gods such as Ganesha, a human with an elephant head (evidence that ancient Hindu civilization had advanced medical knowledge to perform  plastic  surgery),  children  are  born outside the womb  (evidence  of genet ic eng ineer ing), Sanjaya could give detailed accounts of battle to King Dhritarashtra in the Mahabharata (evidence of ancient internet and satellite technology), and a monkey god and his army of monkeys built a stone bridge across  water  (evidence  that  Indian  mythology  is  fact  because  Rama’s Bridge exists today). (216)

It reminds that the latest space-craft/space project that China just sent to the moon a week ago was called Chang'e 5. Chang'e is a mythical character that lives on the moon. Also, most of the space project is named after traditional myth such as Tiangong - the Chinese space station (which means palace in the sky). Another example of mythological stories as evidence for technoscientific progress. I suspected this naming system may serve as importing Chinese culture to the world as well.


In India's archaic modernity, new formations of genomic nationalism are being secured. Here the transnational and global networks of modern science and Hindu nationalism (van der Veer 1994), embracing globalization and neoliberalism, have together proven to be potent tools for the consolidation of a modern scientifc ethnic bionationalism. As new data, methods, and methodologies emerge, the old, troubled wounds of ancestry are exposed. Molecular analyses are the battleground on which old debates are being waged anew. (148)

In chapter four, the author talked about how molecular technology has somehow "proved" and renewed the interest in Aryan migration theory in Indian. It feels like a "self-fulfilling prophecy" when science and myth are put into the same conversation, that the ancestors are always right and had predicted somethings science found out hundreds or thousands of years later. This sentiment is so common in China as well, especially in traditional Chinese medicine (somehow renewed by the pandemic). However, in this case, the lack of evidence that proves they work is regarded as science is not advanced enough to explain them. 

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