Human Society Systemic issues of India

Death of a science club

I write this with a deep sense of anguish; as, last week, I (and Einstein) have been instrumental to a sad demise of the only Science Club that city boasted.

Poor Einstein must have seen it coming, so he had categorically rejected astrology as a pseudoscience, (but had admitted that “this kind of superstition is so tenacious that it could persist through so many centuries”). But, ignoring his wise words, Science Club invited an astrologer for a talk, who effortlessly destroyed science within two minutes by establishing that astrology is science by using one indisputable proof, i.e. he had read somewhere on Google that Einstein said that astrology is science. QED.

As this unique method of proving was received with thunderous applause by the audience, science had no option but to get up and walk away.

For anyone capable of not confusing astronomy with astrology, it is difficult to find any “science” in astrology that tries to predict future based on one’s birth-location and birth-time in this vast universe. To put things in perspective of our universe, even if you have been reading this newspaper for barely three minutes, you have moved by a whopping one lakh KMs across the universe during that time; as you are moving at 1600 KMPH around Earth’s axis, at 1,00,000 KMPH around Sun, at 9,00,000 KMPH around the centre of Milky Way and at 10,00,000 KMPH with the galactic cluster we are part of.

So, considering the exactness of calculation astrologers boast, if someone made an error of even 30 seconds in marking your birth-time exactly, it should adversely impact the astrological prediction as if your birth-place was recorded as Honolulu instead of Halol!

If we add complex motions like axial rotation of Earth that renders constellations “made” from stars (that are thousands of light-years apart from each other) completely imaginary constructs, there exists no possible ground of connecting astrology with any aspect of science other than that deals with insanity.

Unfortunately, pseudo-sciences like astronomy work because when science travels down from scientists to masses, the process is akin to a badly played game of Chinese whispers. With each level of transfer of information, the facts are eroded and fiction is added. When it reaches masses, what is left are names like Einstein and words like space/time/energy that crooked manipulators like astrologers and paranormal chaps pick up and rehash them in a way that serve their agenda of fooling masses.

The beauty of the game these manipulators play is that they speak the language that masses relate with as science. e.g. “”Einstein proved that everything in the universe is made from energy, so consciousness must be a form of energy”. Such false and bogus generalization works with masses because it will take a scientist an hour to counter it by explaining that Einstein linked only mass with energy, and that has nothing to do with “everything” that universe is made of. And, even if he takes that pain, the astrologer-applauding audiences rarely have the capacity to grasp the chain of logic science proposes.

This issue raises a very serious problem about science and humanity at large. On one hand, humanity is getting more and more democratic in its functioning, and on the other, science is getting far too complex for masses to grasp. If immediate steps are not taken to instill scientific temper in masses, real science would suffer seriously in the hands of charlatans masquerading their wares as science using popular support.

The need of the hour is for those with ability to communicate science to come forward and take the pain to fight the rot that pseudo-sciences are spreading. Science may or may not need humanity, but humanity surely needs science.

DNA: 29/1/17

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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