Despite the growth of scientific and technical education and achievement in India, the country still has a food solidly in the dark ages, in part thanks to a government that seems to do more to encourage than discourage superstition. Ripe with healthfraud like homeopathy, Indians have suffered enormously due to the persistence of superstition-based scams in their country.
Yet even considering how bad things can get in India, I am left at a loss having read this news report.
Via the Times of India:
Astrology is a science: Bombay HC
MUMBAI: Astrology has been debunked by most world scientists including India’s renowned physicist Prof. Yash Pal. However, it is “science” in India.
The Bombay High Court reaffirmed this on Thursday when it dismissed a PIL that had challenged astrology as science.
The PIL was filed by an NGO, Janhit Manch that had sought action against ‘fake’ astrologers, tantriks, practitioners of Vastu shastra etc.
“So far as prayer related to astrology is concerned, the Supreme Court has already considered the issue and ruled that astrology is science. The court had in 2004 also directed the universities to consider if astrology science can be added to the syllabus. The decision of the apex court is binding on this court,” observed the judges.
Yeah, you read right. And I thought that law makers trying to get “intelligent design” into the curriculum were bad. Hell, at least they have been shot down by the courts. But apparently in India, the courts have ordered that astrology should be considered for inclusion in scientific instruction.
I can’t imagine how this must play with the various professors and scientists in India who actually are seeing a court order their institutions to consider astrology a science. Despite how boneheaded this court is, there are many very learned Indians and institutions of higher learning have been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years. The frustration of having some idiot superstitious judge step in and try to undo it all must be maddening.
The judges also took on record an affidavit submitted by the Union government. The Centre had in its affidavit stated that astrology is 4000 years old ‘trusted science’ and the same does not fall under the preview of The Drugs and Megical Remedies Act (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
“The said Act does not cover astrology and related sciences. Astrology is a trusted science and is being practiced for over 4000 years,” said an affidavit filed by Dr R Ramakrishna, deputy drug controller (India), west zone.
“The said Act is aimed at prohibiting misleading advertisements relating to drugs and magic remedies. The Act does not cover and / or relate to astrology and / or allied sciences like Palmistry, Vaastu Shastra etc. In view thereof, a purported ban on practices promoting astrology and related sciences sought by the petitioner, which is a time tested science more than 4000 years old is totally misconceived and unjustifiable,” says the affidavit.
The (PIL) filed by Janhit Manch and its convener Bhagwanji Raiyani, along with his associate Dattaram Kumkar, had questioned the validity of predictions by many well-known astrologers.
The PIL, which ran into more than 100 pages pointed to several cases, including that of Indira Gandhi and Charan Singh becoming prime ministers, despite opposite predictions.
Representing the Union government, advocate Advait Sethna told the court that even the SC had accepted that astrology was a science and many universities had included it as a subject.
Advocate for Maharashtra government, Bharat Mehta too supported the stand taken by the Union government. Mehta submitted an affidavit filed by the food and drugs administration (FDA) department which said that necessary action is being taken against the guilty under the Drugs and Megical Remedies Act.
The PIL had urged the authorities to ban articles, advertisements, episodes and practices promoting astrology and its related subjects like vastu, reiki, feng shui, tarot, palmistry, zodiac signs and rashifal.
“Trusted science…for over 4000 years” Is that all it takes? The fact that something has been around for a long time and was trusted in ancient times makes it immune from ever becoming non-trusted?
I’ve got some news for Ramakrishna: There are lots of things that were believed thousands of years ago and are now considered hogwash. One thing about science is that it does not stand still and ideas that are found to be flawed are rejected regardless of their age. Not that this is a new thing, though, most serious scientists have rejected astrology for hundreds of years.
Maybe we should bring back bloodletting, witch burning, virgin sacrifices, geocentrism and all the other ideas that were trusted for thousands of years before we knew any better.
Finally, to the judges involved: you may want to reconsider your decision in light of your charts for the past day. Here’s your horoscope: The stress of the daily grind has been getting to you. Be careful about making big decisions. It would be better to wait until you’ve had time to relax and think them through. Now might be a good time to break from the routine by contacting some old friends and enjoying some activities you haven’t done in a while. Tonight: stay home and go f*** yourself.