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Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel laureate, calls astrology a fake discipline

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel laureate,  calls astrology a fake discipline
Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan termed astrology and alchemy fake disciplines
  • CHENNAI: Nobel laureate Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan provoked a few and enthralled many with his talk on ‘The Sceptical Scientist’ in the city on Thursday. He termed astrology and alchemy fake disciplines that depended on the power of suggestion and said homeopathy was based on belief. Terms like ‘positive and negative energy’ used by various “quacks were complete mumbo jumbo” and had no precise meaning, he said. Science, he added, had a particular definition of energy.
Delivering the 2nd S V Narasimhan Memorial Oration, organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Dr Ramakrishnan said that just as good system of government guarded people from their worst instincts, the process of science “protects us from our biases and irrationality.” “Scientific methods protect us from the danger of false beliefs. No system that does not incorporate proper testing, criticism from peers and other checks of modern science can claim to be ‘scientific’ regardless of the scientific jargon used,” he said.

Quoting examples from history, such as disproving of Fleischman-Pons ideas of nuclear fusion at room temperature (cold fusion) and Linus Pauling’s claim that huge doses of vitamin C can keep away cancer.

He said beliefs persisted despite data, adding that hundreds of website and news articles continue to come out on cold fusion and benefits of vitamin C. To pass the test, prescribed procedure or medicine should be the actual cause of the cure and not a coincidence or due to an unrelated occurrence.

Dr Ramakrishnan said homeopathy had been advocated for life-threatening diseases like AIDS and cancer, for which there are real effective medicines, while astrology can be abused and used to influence decisions. “Both can lead people away from taking more effective actions based on logic and contemplation. A culture based on superstition will always do worse than that based on science,” he said. He added that doctors could, however, use the power of suggestion to enhance the effect of their medicine.

thanks Times of Indian…march.30th.15

Dedicated by: KAVINGNAR THANIGAI

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