Fjordman: Mathematics and Religion

Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at Atlas Shrugs. Some excerpts are below:

My good friend Ohmyrus, on whose website I publish essays at every now and then, is an ethnic Chinese man and a Christian. He believes that secularism promotes a short term attitude towards life since for secular people their time horizon is their own lifetime. Religious people, on the other hand, have their eyes on eternity. Many European medieval cathedrals, for instance Cologne Cathedral in Germany, took centuries to complete. The people who built them literally moved mountains of stones, even though they would in many cases not see the completed result themselves. They did this because they looked to the hereafter. Ohmyrus believes that the same principles applied to science as well.

Many of the scholars who created modern science, including Galileo and Newton, believed that they were honoring God by studying his Creation. They saw science as a religious duty. Since we live in a more secular age, many observers will doubtlessly dismiss this explanation out of hand. But after having studied the astronomical achievements of the Babylonians and the Mayas, I feel quite certain that you cannot understand why they did what they did and put so much effort into astronomical observations unless you understand their religious world view as well. It is quite likely that the same principle applies to European Christians.

Joel Mokyr, professor at the Department of Economics at Northwestern University, writes about innovation and economic history in his book The Gifts of Athena: Historical Origins of the Knowledge Economy. Was there a link between the so-called Scientific Revolution of seventeenth century Europe and the Industrial Revolution that followed some generations later? Some scholars have questioned this connection, but Mokyr argues that the missing link between the two was what he terms the Industrial Enlightenment. There was a new mentality, and the spillover effects of this were as important as the actual knowledge generated by it.

– – – – – – – –

The Industrial Enlightenment’s debt to the Scientific Revolution consisted of scientific method, scientific mentality and scientific culture. Scientific method meant more accurate measurements, controlled experiment and an insistence on reproducibility. Increasingly precise barometers, thermometers, clocks and other instruments helped unlock previously unknown natural phenomena. There was a mental shift away from reliance on past authority to empirical verifications of facts, with an emphasis on experiment and refinements of the experimental method. Important was also scientific mentality, the concept that the world was orderly and that natural phenomena could be predicted and described mathematically.

According to Mokyr, “The early seventeenth century witnessed the work of Kepler and Galileo that explicitly tried to integrate mathematics with natural philosophy, a slow and arduous process, but one that eventually changed the way all useful knowledge was gathered and analyzed. Once the natural world became intelligible, it could be tamed: because technology at base involves the manipulation of nature and the physical environment, the metaphysical assumptions under which people engaged in production operate, are ultimately of crucial importance. The Industrial Enlightenment learned from the natural philosophers — especially from Newton, who stated it explicitly in the famous opening pages of Book Three of the Principia — that the phenomena produced by nature and the artificial works of mankind were subject to the same laws. That view squarely contradicted orthodox Aristotelianism. The growing belief in the rationality of nature and the existence of knowable natural laws that govern the universe, the archetypical Enlightenment belief, led to a growing use of mathematics in pure science as well as in engineering and technology.”

The most widely cited consequence of the Scientific Revolution was the increasing use of mathematics in natural philosophy and eventually in technical communications. By making mathematics accessible not only to mathematicians but to instrument makers, engineers, designers and artillery officers it became a tool of communication.

The ancient Greeks made great advances for their time in science and in mathematics. The Romans after them contributed virtually nothing to science or to mathematics. The correlation between science and mathematics is apparently quite strong. Up until the Italian Renaissance, Europeans assimilated some external influences via the Middle East, prominent among them the Hindu numeral system with the zero which we use today as well as some advances in algebra made by Muslim scholars. However, after that, from about the fourteenth to the twentieth century, Europe outperformed all other civilizations in the world in mathematics. By that I don’t just mean to say that Europeans outperformed all other cultures individually, but combined. It is possible to argue that European global leadership was stronger in mathematics than in any other scholarly discipline. Perhaps the simplest explanation for why the Scientific Revolution happened in Europe is because the language of nature is written in mathematics, as Galileo famously said, and Europeans did more than any other civilization to develop — or discover — the vocabulary of this language.

This brings us to the next question: Does mathematics have an independent existence in nature or does the human mind invent it? The answer potentially has huge philosophical implications. The people who created modern science lived predominantly in Europe, an overwhelmingly Christian continent with an important Jewish minority. They apparently had an advantage when they assumed the universe to be designed by a rational Creator. I admit this is a challenging dilemma for those of us who are not religious: Why can nature apparently be described mathematically and rationally if it has not been designed by a rational Creator? As a non-religious man, this is the only religious argument that I find difficult to answer.

Read the rest at Atlas Shrugs.

16 thoughts on “Fjordman: Mathematics and Religion

  1. He believes that secularism promotes a short term attitude towards life since for secular people their time horizon is their own lifetime. Religious people, on the other hand, have their eyes on eternity.

    The same principle applies to defending one’s nation’s existence, even unto laying down one’s life for it. If however a person’s timeline is limited, then it is hard to see why that person should lay down his life to defend the nation unto death, even if its affects his children or grandchildren, as in the end they dont matter as well.


    There was some discussion on the above topic here

    Fjordman: Why Was There No Chinese Newton?

  2. DP111: The last essay you linked to discusses the book Understanding Human History by Michael Hart, which I have read but not yet reviewed. It is provocative and worth reading but relies a little bit too much on IQ as an all-purpose explanation. Essentially, his theory is that due to the evolutionary pressures caused by the cold weather, people in the far north tended to develop higher levels of intelligence, measured in IQ, compared to people in warmer climates. This is why the peoples with the highest national IQs are found in Europe and in Northeast Asia, i.e. Koreans, Japanese and Chinese. Even within China, it was people from the north who conquered people from the south.

    While this is a plausible, if politically incorrect, hypothesis, it does not explain why Northeast Asians, who have at last as high mean IQs as Europeans, did not create the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions. They lacked something which is not measured by average IQ. It is possible to argue that perhaps whites have a higher number of geniuses and that it is geniuses who drive science forward.

    Yet IQ does not explain why East Asians have usually been so weak in creating mathematics. For most of the past 2500 years, the West has been superior to East Asia in mathematics, sometimes by a very wide margin. Despite the fact that China clearly has a higher average IQ than India, I would claim that the peaks of Indian mathematicians have been higher than those of Chinese mathematicians.

  3. I think the argument has been that, whilst east asians might have a similar average IQ, the variation is a lot less. The bell curve is tighter compared to the west, so everyone is fairly close to the mean. In Europeans the IQ bell curve is very broad, so we have a much wider range of IQs – plenty more people with very low IQ, but also a significant number of people with extremely high IQ. The key factor seems to be those extremely intelligent people. I’d be willing to bet that India’s bell curve is similarly broad.

  4. Very nice article, Grande Fjordmanone. I read them all and save them. But tonight I want to be a fly in the ointment.

    I think that the Moral Law – “might is not right” – in other words in a disagreement between an Emperor and a pauper, the pauper could be right, gave a tremendous boost to rational thinking. Its parallel to what is right and wrong in science is a very close match. The right answer is in God’s pocket. End of the story.

    Then Christ came along, and kept the justice and maths, but also suggested that both could be quite murderous if devoid of some divine stupidity… And he spoke in riddles and paradoxes that were low on maths and justice as they were known at the time. Perhaps a different kind of maths: in which the real genius could be an unlettered peasant and not the clever scientist or august judge.

    Yes, a farmer barely at the edge of literacy could actually teach a thing or three to the likes of a Princeton Chair of Bio-Ethics who’s read a thick tome full of clever calculations for every single letter that the farmer ever read or tried to read while waiting for his haircut.

    And in that our proud civilization seems rather backward. I’m getting old and it’s likely that I (as well as most of the elderly of France) will envy the technology of the Amish concerning their treatment of the superannuated. Their methods are way ahead. Far more advanced. Trust me.

    I can tell you that I admire the technology of my bar caffè much much more than Starbucks.

    We know that we’re smarter than the Ayrabs and that there’s something funky even about the Japanese (no slouches at all). And you’ve connected the dots and I haven’t missed one.

    But it’s the foolish part of us that doesn’t seem to be too smart.

    For example: there are some places where to eat, we roll down the window of our car and speak to a microphone that’s embedded into a column and the order is taken by someone in India. Oh boy, the technology, the satellites, the alogrythms, the binary codes! The great and superior intelligence… Moses Maimonides would be proud! John von Neumann, Leó Szilárd, Wigner, Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Max von Laue and Walther Nernst could all claim a piece or two of the technology involved— and then we inch up to a window for a hamburger that’s not nearly as good at those being eaten by the Luddites and Mennonites and Amish.

    And as we pull away, who do we see smiling enigmatically behind the window? The lebanese owner of the Franchise, a certain eleventh century al-Ghazali who “denounced natural laws, (the very objective of science), as a blasphemous constraint upon the free will of Allah.

    I’m not a traitor and I haven’t become a Muslim, but without in any way shape or form, lessening the great worthiness of your work, I think we need to figure out not what made our intelligence so smart, but our stupidity so foolhardy. In other words, what curse or whammy downgraded virtues into values?

    This is a nightmare. I mean imagining al-Ghazali, the laughingstock of Islam getting in the last smirk can only be a nightmare. I’m sure that as the Renaissance looked back to the Classical Period for inspiration, we who are already living in the future will eventually have the good sense to look back to the present and see how $%&/%$ed-up we’ve become.

    Forgive me for putting it at the hamburger level. But all along the line, it really does seem that we’ve become moral primitivos.

    We are so decadent that we’ve reduced ourselves to struggling against Islam with blasphemy!

  5. Ciao, IoshkaFutz. As I’ve written before, my purpose with writing essays is to find inspiration in our past, but also to describe accurately what’s wrong with us today. Because there clearly is something very, very wrong with us, and it’s not caused by Muslims or any group of outsiders. We should take pride in what we have achieved and give credit to others when they deserve it. While organized science is a Western invention, so is organized national suicide.

    I hope to complete a book called What Went Wrong With the West? at some point during the next couple of years. Unfortunately, I have no shortage of material…..

  6. Fjordman-

    You can cull many clues for “What Went Wrong With the West” from A. Koestler’s stimulating book “Bricks To Babel“, which collected a sampling of his most worthwhile books.

    The central mistake in the present unravelling trend in the West is to criticize oneself to the exclusion of criticizing others~ through a strange sense of what could be thought of as a kind of derranged noblesse oblige.

    One which has been taught ~ through mediocre academics and hysterical entertainments~ to mistrust and hate itself …for being “noble” (in the sense of such “arrogant” advancements as indoor plumbing and Mars landers, cybernetics and laser surgery, discovering and developing Psychology to intuiting Quantum Physics and nanotechnology) and which thinks it is thus “obliged” to judge its own “sins” ( warring and whoring) as The Most Horrible Crimes Ever Committed in History.

    Their self-analytical looking glass is a carnival mirror.

    Arrived at through an arrogant failure to know History, whether past or current, except in a soothingly self-loathing manner that reinforces this masochistic delusion of grandeur.

    To think of oneself as the greatest criminal culture is a rare kind of diseased egotism, which exalts and abases, simultaneously, like a narcotic.

    Those who are instructed in this thrilling trick of “I am worst” also learn how to avoid any information that will disturb their comfortable cocoon of self-flagellation and mea culpa-bility.

    If you educate people to idealize the Other (“noble savage”, et al) and despise their own culture (“dead white guys”), the result can only be a predictably collapse of the sense of self-worth, and of studiously not valuing the Civilization which has given the world the ability to end smallpox, view the Crab Nebulae from a space telescope, perform organ transplants, map the genome, promote universal literacy and equality, and works to explore the micro/meso/ and macrocosm.

    It is much easier and cheaper (as in both “cheap shot” and less strenuous) to denigrate than to illuminate.

    We are suffering the results of decades of slipshod educational aims and treasonous pseudo-intellectuals… useful idiots… encouraged and applauded and goaded by calculating cynics from other cultures, who see such traitors to our History and values as a handy tool to weaken the West from within. Using our own homegrown seditionist stooges as saps and sappers.

    Turning it around will require mounting a serious defense~ in the arts and popular culture~ of our culture’s transcendent achievements, and the West’s undeniable greatnesses, from Heraclitus and Sappho to Madame Curie and Edmund Husserl.

    Among thousands of other worthy names.

    Thanks for the invigorating essay and keep the flame of the West’s light burning.

  7. Fjordman

    In the linked article, I was alluding to “humility” in the face of the awe-inspiring universe, as one of the features of scientists in Christendom. IQ is a separate issue as far as this thread is concerned.

    There are IQ differences between races, specifically – East Asians have a higher IQ then most. So the question immediately arises- why was it that science, technology, and even social development, such as the abolition of slavery, freedom of expression, or self-government, to name a few, took place in the West, and then extended to the rest of the world?

    Two reasons come to my mind.

    One is that in the West there was not just intelligent speculation and freedom to do so, but an innate sense of adventure (This is where IQ comes in). This spirit of adventure was manifest in the number of explorers that set out from Europe, not just in search of treasure, but also for the heck of it. This spirit of adventurous exploration quite naturally manifested itself in the intellectual world as well – scientific, social and spiritual. It was just fun. Even now, when most of the arduous adventures/challenges have already been undertaken, one sees this spirit of adventure, leading to ever more physical exploits, and new scientific discoveries. Now consider Japan. Average Japanese IQ levels are higher then those in the West. Japan is also a highly developed industrial nation, and has been for over 50 years. And yet, there is a paucity of really striking original scientific discoveries from Japan. One reason could be that Japanese schooling methods inculcate an attitude of subservience to authority, and a reluctance to question the status quo.

    The other, in addition to a spirit of adventure – the underlying ethos of the Christian faith, in which genuine humility is one of the most important tenet. It was in this combined spirit that scientists- Newton, Maxwell, Dalton and Einstein, who changed the very way we look at the universe and ourselves, functioned. I hazard that lack of humility among Greek natural philosophers stopped them from progressing beyond the mathematical theorems they invented, for Greeks most certainly had a taste for adventure, as their sagas, and their going out to establish an empire, amply testify.

    Why should humility be so important for scientific discovery is difficult to say. Perhaps the freeing of ego and intellectual vanity in the face of God’s creation, frees the mind from pressure, and thus allows it to see a “vision” not otherwise visible.

    A more mundane explanation can be that a scientist filled with his own sense of importance and intellect, is unable to see beyond the rational. A scientist with faith and humility looks for an underlying ordering principle, and virtually into the spiritual domain, i.e., a spiritual quest for God himself, and then invents field theory (Newton) – a theory that is not obvious at all, as fields are not visible or measurable directly – in fact they defy imagination.

  8. As a mathematician by training (Algebra & Number Theory), I need to comment on the “East Asians in Mathematics”.

    The Japanese have made tremendous contributions to algebra in the last 50 years. Iwasawa, Shimura, Nagata come to my mind immediately. For more, I would have to think a little more.

    As for the Chinese, Western mathematical departments of universities are literally packed with the Chinese. I would guess that about 15 to 25 per cent of PhD students of maths in the USA are East Asians.

    I think that one of the reasons why the East Asians did not make serious contributions in the classical era of mathematics in the 19th century is state of their societies at that time: feudal, rigid and relatively poor.

  9. Fjordman and all –

    “The Romans after them contributed virtually nothing to science or to mathematics”

    Thanks for this sentence, we should go back and visit our real ancestors – the Greeks. Never the Romans.

    The Romans were a sort of muslims concerned with political power only. And they sully our minds until now.

    They treated the Greeks like dhimmis.

    Interesting that the Indians who are “crazy” in the terms of our religious concepts, did so much in mathematics in modern times as well.

    Try to find some literature on Ramanujan – a South Indian brahmin from Kumbhakonam – totally destitute – and invited to England to do more. Until now you need a team of mathematicians to follow his conclusions, in his time he was so poor, he could not efford paper and did his research using chalk and table. Not good to prove back anything.

    Sometimes he was woken up by his family goddess of Namakkal to tell him the solution of some purely mathematic problem. He wrote it down and worked on it next day.

    This is really crazy or good (??). There is no deeper parallel to thinking religion and mathematics could work together – except the Greeks sacrificing bulls in honour for their gods for having found a solution to purely mathematical problemata.

    The term “logos” is an intersection of mathematics, religion and much else.

    In the beginning was LOGOS, not simply “word” or “kallimatu” as we translate it afterwards.

    Simone Weil prefers to render logos as “rapport”. Not a “word”.
    Try to relate everything to logos or the word. You get two very different pictures of “this universe”.

  10. Marian – CZ said: I was referring here to creating mathematics. Using mathematics is another thing entirely. I never questioned the ability of Northeast Asians to use mathematics at least as well as people of European origins. But no, given China’s large population and share of the global economy for so many centuries, the Chinese contributed surprisingly little to global mathematics. Not nothing, but not very much, either.

    If you make a list of the greatest original mathematicians in world history, there are surprisingly few from East Asia. Seki Takakazu from Japan is one exception. But how many Chinese or Korean mathematicians can you honestly say made contributions to mathematics as the level of Euler, Gauss, Newton or Descartes, or even Brahmagupta in India?

    I am talking here about the period up to the mid-twentieth century. I am not a mathematician of training and do not have sufficient knowledge about what has happened during the past 60 years. If the Japanese made great contributions during this period, I am genuinely curious to know about it.

  11. I personally believe mathematicians in the Islamic world did contribute some advances in algebra and to a lesser extent trigonometry, but modern algebra and analytical geometry, the marriage between algebra and geometry, was made in seventeenth century Europe by Descartes and others, just before the invention of calculus by Leibniz and Newton. The Greek, Persian and Indian axis was the most important one for mathematical exchanges before Renaissance Europe, after which almost all important global advances in mathematics were European, but we should remember that the Persians were latecomers and internalized the Mesopotamian mathematical achievement. I would rank the influence of Babylonian mathematics, especially planetary astronomy, as the most important external contribution to European mathematics prior to the medieval era, far more important than the Egyptian one. But the Greeks developed geometry to a level unheard of in any other pre-modern civilization, and the concept of axiomatic mathematical proof was unique to the Greeks.

    During the medieval era we absorbed the Indian numeral system plus some advances in algebra via Middle Easterners, which is why these numerals are unfairly called “Arabic numerals” in many European languages. They are Indian numerals, although calling them Hindu-Arabic numerals can be accepted. This was a very important advance, as Roman numerals were cumbersome to work with, but it still remains a fact that calculus, probability theory and other advances were made in Europe, not in the Middle East, India or China. It is possible to find seeds of what would become calculus in the work of some of the ancient Greeks, above all Archimedes, as well as a few Indian and Japanese mathematicians, but they remained seeds.

    A politically incorrect answer may be partly genetic. I hear Bill Gates has (jokingly) suggested that Indians have a “software gene.” There were some good Chinese mathematicians, certainly more than Roman ones (the Romans didn’t produce even a single mathematician worthy of note), and some Korean or Japanese ones such as or Seki Takakazu, but in general, East Asians have contributed surprisingly little to the development of mathematics considering how good many of them are at using mathematics and how technologically sophisticated these nations are and have been. If you look at Western Europe by AD 1000, then barely recovering from the post-Roman civilizational collapse while China was in the middle of one of the most technologically and economically dynamic periods in its history, European scholars still knew that the Earth is spherical while Chinese ones believed it was flat.

  12. The Baron has suggested that the Greek, Persian and Indian axis of mathematics had a linguistic component, as Greek, Persian and Sanskrit are all Indo-European languages. This hypothesis is admittedly intriguing, yet not entirely convincing. During the period between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries AD, the most mathematically innovative region in India, and perhaps indeed in Asia, was Kerala in the far south, and people there don’t speak Indo-European languages at all, they speak Dravidian languages, although they are influenced by Sanskrit vocabulary, as are all languages in India.

    The Babylonians spoke a Semitic language, and the Sumerians before them developed the first true civilization before the Indo-European expansion had even begun. Arguably the greatest mathematician in India during the twentieth century was Srinivasa Ramanujan. He was a Tamil from southern India. In other words, he spoke a Dravidian language, not a Sanskrit-derived IE language. The great physicist Chandrasekhar’s mother tongue was also Tamil, as far as I know.

    I could add the fact that the first literate European culture, the Minoan one, probably didn’t speak an Indo-European language, and as far as we know (their script still hasn’t been deciphered) didn’t have an elaborate tradition of mathematics and natural philosophy similar to what the Greeks had during the Hellenic and Hellenistic periods. Yet the Mycenaean Greeks in the pre-Homeric period didn’t have a well-developed scientific tradition, either, nor did the Greeks in the Homeric period before Thales and Pythagoras. After producing a number of mathematical geniuses of the highest order, such as Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius and Hipparchus, the Greek achievement steadily declined into the Roman era. It didn’t disappear immediately; they could still produce a Hero in engineering, a Diophantus in mathematics, a Galen in medicine and above all a Ptolemy in astronomy, cartography and optics, but after Galen, Diophantus and Ptolemy there were almost none. So the Greeks, who spoke roughly the same Indo-European language throughout this period, went from producing nothing to producing a great deal and then back to producing nothing again. The Romans, who also spoke an Indo-European language, hardly produced any scientists at all in any discipline. Pliny was an encyclopedist. A good one, to be sure, but he commented on the theories of others, he didn’t produce new science.

    I believe the Etruscans, the pre-Roman Italians, were non-Indo-European speakers, but we know very little about them. We also don’t know too much about the Minoans. They may have spoken a language related to Etruscan, or perhaps a Semitic language related to Phoenician. I personally believe they spoke one of the Stone Age European languages. I find it highly unlikely that they spoke an IE language. Pre-Greek or Proto-Greek probably existed just before 2000 BC, when it was an intrusive language in mainland Greece. By this time the Minoans, as the first Europeans people, already had a written language inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphs.

    I’ve been reading a lot about the Minoans lately, since they were Europe’s first true civilization. We do not have any indications that they produced great mathematicians a la Euclid or Archimedes. Yet the Minoans, although they were familiar with Egyptian art, had a much freer and more lifelike art than contemporary civilizations elsewhere. This is one continuity I can find in 4000 years of recorded European civilization: lifelike and realistic art. Admittedly, this hasn’t been equally true in all ages. It was not true in the Homeric period of early Greece, and it was not true in the Early Middle Ages. But during all great periods of cultural flowering, Europeans stand out with less stylized and more lifelike artistic representations compared to most other cultures. Could this be an indication of peoples who have viewed the world differently from their neighbors, perhaps even quite literally and biologically?

  13. I agree with every word of Profitbeard’s comment.

    The Left following the Gramscian plan of cultural communism infiltrated and took over the information organs of our society (education and the media) and turned them to permanent indoctrination whose fruits we are now seeing in a sheeplike population bereft of critical thinking skills and easily manipulated into the rest of the leftist agenda.

    This decades long process would seem impossible to reverse as it is self-perpetuating (leftists hiring only the like minded, tenure etc.) Invention of the Internet so that we are not completely dependent on the media has created a temporary hitch in the works (to be countered with various censorship efforts underway). As far as education though, the only possibility of change is a revolutionary and massive move away from the public education/indoctrination monopoly to charter schools and home schooling aided by that same Internet with breakaway universities forming. How likely is that?

    As far as humility and science is concerned, the very essence of science is humility, acceptance of the knowledge that one might be wrong and proven wrong by some bright guy down the pike, perhaps even yourself.

    This is why the junk science of climate warming is easily recognizable. True scientists (as opposed to ideologists or corrupt money-grubbers) would never declare a permanent consensus on a subject as yet so poorly understood and with so many contradictory findings.

    This hubris of prematurely declaring “This subject is closed. Let us suppress and refuse to fund any research that does not fit with our chosen framework” is the antithesis of science.

    However, I return to the point that without a vehicle that reaches the majority of the public, reclaiming in some way or reinventing our information organs, so that the truth can once again be broadcast, our society is doomed.

  14. Fjordman,

    there is a paradox – Dravidian languages preserved Sanskrit vocabulary much better than any language in North India. The reason is simple – there was no way to change the absorbed elements embedded in a different language.

    Except for Tamil (but there is a Brahmanic variety of Tamil reflecting the Sanskrit heritage perfectly – it had extra script “granthalipi”. The other 3 major Drav. languages reflect Sanskrit in detail – in their very script.

    And Ramanujan was Brahmin – Vaishnava. His family life was imbibed probably with Sanskrit – Brahmin dialect, prayers, rituals (only in Sanskrit) etc. much more than with a simple though educated Tamil.

    Spoken languages in North India absorbed too much Persian and Arabic – not so in South India.

    In classical Telugu you might find texts with up to 95% of Sanskrit!

    If you want a Hindi scholar with perfect natural non-islamic vocabulary – take a South Indian and let him learn/write Hindi. Mind also that Modern Hindi is a somewhat artificial language. One more reason to make an outsider better at it – while bringing a heavy load of his home Sanskrit – vocabulary.

    North Indian languages simplified the Sanskrit elements absorbed, but on the whole they lived their independent lives from the beginning – they were not derived or developed from Sanskrit directly.

    Only Tamil does the same to the Sanskrit vocabulary – but in that case we might call it dravidization.

    Note also that more Hindu South India is much more educated and developed in our times. The English is what links them to the North nowadays.

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