Is science another of those fanatical religions?

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“Intellectual integrity made it quite impossible for me to accept the myths and dogmas of even very great scientists, more particularly of the belligerent and so-called advanced nations. Indeed, those intellectuals who accepted them were abdicating their functions for the joy of feeling themselves at one with the herd.”— Bertrand Russell 1872-1969.


Is science really serious when scientists claim that only science is authentic and all else is unreal? Has science lost its heart? Is science another of those fanatical tight-knit religions? Why is science being sold as the only route to human wisdom? Eons before modern science of the West came into being humankind existed here with all the wisdom which we claim we have today.

Science and technology in ancient India, China and Egypt have had their hoary past. Some of the leading western scientists paid their obeisance to the wisdom of those civilisations. Many of them have admitted that they built their views sitting on the shoulders of some of the thinker-philosophers of yore! In the true sense of the word, science is only a method to understand the working of this universe. In that sense, science is a great exercise, but to sell science as the be-all and end-all of human wisdom to the exclusion of all other fields of knowledge is the height of foolishness and short-sightedness. It is that institution of science that one has to shun.

In fact, science, as it is being practised now, is a highly materialistic enterprise. Consequently, it wants to maintain its hegemony and grip on the establishment. Any criticism of science is frowned upon even by the laypeople who have been thoroughly brainwashed to believe that science has the legitimate right to supremacy in this world. Some of the material comforts of technology like communications, transportation and electricity have added proof that the science base of these technologies is to be venerated. Scientists are so deluded by their invincibility that they have no patience to listen to any other view. There is no debate in this arena. As long as there is no debate, there will be no progress.

The upper castes among the scientists, the Nobels, the big-time grant collectors, the fat CV holders, the FRSs, the sarkari scientists (who were ready to sell the country to private companies), the thought leaders, etc., have built a strong fortress around them that no one will dare differ with their views. Once you get into that club, you could say anything and get away with it. The scientific establishment has found an easy way to keep outsiders at bay and keep its flock together. Its journals have what it calls the peer review system, which is the easiest way to eliminate all dissenting opinions.

In this area, medical science is at its worst. The drug and device lobbies have the monopoly for “scientific” publications here. For every industry-funded positive study there are, on average, five negative studies which do not get published and see the light of day in print for thinking people to read and understand.

Written By: B.M. Hedge
continue to source article at thehindu.com

75 COMMENTS

  1. This man seems to be a “Professor” simply because he professes things. They don’t seem to have to make any sense, or hang together in any sort of order.

  2. It definitely can be.

    I have met people who believe in “scientific” evolution and don’t believe in god but still attribute mystical supernatural stuff to evolution. And there is tons of blind following of science, yes perfect following of the scientific method will produce proof of many things, but other things are simply out of the scope of science, out of the scope of a particular study, and sometimes science is not conducted properly.

  3. What an awful article. He’s practically arguing against fact/empirical based reality while spouting unfounded assertions. It’s too sad to even be funny.

  4. I’m reminded here of how bitterness often enters the equation when it comes to securing funding and resources: at the very highest levels in society. There seems more parity between certain disciplines and theistic allegiance, than others which tend to abandon this. The “arts” it seems to me, are at odds with science in certain ways due this. What percentage of budget ought be secured toward each sector tends to get political and often religious in affiliation and therefore hostility. Peoples careers and futures get bound up in fights for survival and things like “religious backing” rear their ugly time honoured loyalties as if each are one and the same.

    Historical allies, such as above, remind me how exactly theism has conspired to hold us all over barrels that ought to have been somehow replaced but that we struggle to free ourselves from, despite all reason and rhyme.

    Add to this the pure desire for “funding” per se, in pursuit of anything professional at all, and even amongst one discipline, it can be seen how science might create its own pseudo wars within and without as to which branch gets what, and who. We soon enter the arena of irrationality and excuse our own endeavors in whatever ways we can. 

     Money seems the great helper, divider and disabler, in more ways than we often acknowledge, often conspiring to conceal exactly how. Winning its backing often seems the only game in town. In this sense science often finds itself in a ball park that defies what its constitution is representative of, as in fact is often the case of all comers!

  5. Science brainwashes people? Peer review exists to eliminate dissent? Who is this guy? Sounds like a leftover postmodernist, there’s still plenty of those around waiting to be picked off.

  6.  ” Its journals have what it calls the peer review system, which is the easiest way to eliminate all dissenting opinions.”

    Easiest way to eliminate dumb shit!

  7. No. Science is the qualifying of hypotheses against evidence based testing and peer review. It will accept change if proven more acceptable. It will move on if proven wrong. It will continue to make sure if proven right. It is also a process not a belief. Religion puts forward a claim and demands belief, there is no evidence, there is no process that can be tested against or repeated. There is nothing but authority making claims. Religion is a form of deluded gullibility that uses ignorance and fear to generate adherence. Science demands proof.

  8. When any other procedure, aside from the application of reason to evidence, produces a single legitimate and demonstrable addition to our knowledge of the world, then we can start talking about whether the scientific method is crowding everyone else out. If you want to vaunt the value of other methods in approaching the truth of reality then fine, but first you have to show us that they actually do say something about reality.

    We’re still waiting.

  9. The author seems like Ben Stein in disguise…maybe he is a new fellow of the discovery institute!

  10. On the other hand, it is very encouraging to see that most of the comments at The Hindu’s website are sharply critical of this mess and consider it wrong-headed and unfit for publication. I guess not all strands of religious culture are so inimical to thought and reason.

  11. >America spends the highest per capita expense for sickness care with the worst health scenario and the lowest longevity among the 14 industrialised countries surveyed!

    Good criticism, but in the wrong article. The medical science in the US is the same used in the 13 other countries surveyed. Maybe the reason why the US fares so low can be found somewhere else, like in the Bible Belt? Just asking.

    >In fact, [X], as it is being practised now, is a highly materialistic enterprise. Consequently, it wants to maintain its hegemony and grip on the establishment. Any criticism of [X] is frowned upon even by the laypeople who have been thoroughly brainwashed to believe that [X] has the legitimate right to supremacy in this world

    [X] – Try: science, religion, catholic church. Select the best match.

  12. Seems to me the only thing he got right is that most Americans die in hospitals while under a doctor’s care. For some strange reason that’s where we take dying people, though, so it’s hardly surprising that’s where they die (or are officially pronounced dead). It certainly doesn’t mean the medical care was what killed them.

  13. Give an example of something that is outside the scope of science.  Throughout modern history there have been plenty of critics that have claimed certain areas as unknowable, only to eventually be understood through science.  Considering the exponential growth in scientific discovery, I don’t believe anything is outside the scope of science.

  14. All thanks to Prof.Dawkins. Two of the comments posted in response to that article are mine and I’m a regular on this site. But there are a lot of articles like these nowadays, maybe because educated middle-class Indians are now trying to reconcile science with their religion.

  15. As usual, pages and pages about how science sucks, yet he gives no evidence that any other method is better. There’s lot of talk about Semmelweiss being persecuted, which, glossing over the fact that this was in the mid-19th century when almost none of the relevant institutional features of modern medicine were in place, is a clear-cut case of *science* winning out against traditional practices! If Hegde had been around at that time, I’m sure he would have been promoting “alternative, traditional” theories of hygiene, with their “antiquity and authenticity”, as opposed to the “arrogant” promotion of handwashing based on “materialist” germ theory.

    I don’t understand how Hegde can even pretend that this is a loss for modern science, unless his definition of “modern science” is “whatever the majority of Westerners in lab coats believe”. Which is somewhere between naive and racist; no one with half a clue thinks that Western “traditional” and “alternative” medicine are any more scientific than their equivalents around the globe, and of course many discredited traditional practices are precisely those that Western physicians promoted before their flaws were discovered; the great strength of science lies precisely in its ability to give objective grounds for believing in something, arguments not based in the authority of a class of scientists but, to the contrary, arguments that exist precisely in order to correct scientists, first and foremost. At least, that is the ideal. Saying that scientific medicine is defined by whatever European physicians do is like saying that flight is defined by whatever American engineers do. It’s a fundamental confusion between a set of discoveries that happened to arrived first in a particular culture, and the actual culture itself.

    I wish these bizarre critics of “science” could get it through their thick skulls that traditional practices are at least as arrogant as modern science, and that the main difference between alternative medicine and bad science is that while bad science may have poor quality control, alternative medicine tries to shame you for even suggesting that quality control is even necessary. How hypocritical, to bash science for being close-minded, elitist, and insular, while promoting a culture of practitioners who think that they are above having to give sensible explanations for anything they do!

  16. @OP:disqus  –

    Any criticism of science is frowned upon even by the laypeople who
    have been thoroughly brainwashed to believe that science has the
    legitimate right to supremacy in this world.

    What a load of rubbish!  Scientific methods and evidence need to be respected. Veneration is a religious term which has no place in science.  Informed objective criticism is the substance of science.

    Some of the material
    comforts of technology like communications, transportation and
    electricity have added proof that the science base of these technologies
    is to be venerated.
     Scientists are so deluded by their invincibility
    that they have no patience to listen to any other view.

    More drivel!  Scientists are open to new evidence all the time, but are not inclined to waste their time on ignorant ranting idiots!

    There is no
    debate in this arena. As long as there is no debate, there will be no
    progress.

    Ha! ha! ha!  (I wonder what fills all those peer-reviwed journals and university team studies?)

    The upper castes among the scientists, the Nobels, the big-time grant
    collectors, the fat CV holders, the FRSs,

     

    What an interesting projection of Indian corruption!

    the sarkari scientists (who
    were ready to sell the country to private companies), the thought
    leaders, etc.,

    I think that would be politicians, NOT scientists!

    have built a strong fortress around them that no one will
    dare differ with their views.

    Ha! ha! ha!  has this writer been up the jungle all of this life, or just had his head stuck up his backside, while scientific debates continue?

    Once you get into that club, you could
    say anything and get away with it. The scientific establishment has
    found an easy way to keep outsiders at bay and keep its flock together.
    Its journals have what it calls the peer review system, which is the
    easiest way to eliminate all dissenting opinions.

    Especially asserted unevidenced ignoramus drivel !

    This is the main reason why many complementary and alternative systems
    of medicine have been discouraged. Even the public’s perception of them
    as not reliable came about because the main line medicine has tried its
    best to see that other systems of human healing are looked down upon
    albeit their antiquity and authenticity.

    Quackologist finally revealed!  Perhaps the public’s perception of them
    as not reliable came about because they don’t work!

    their antiquity and authenticity

    While recognising the faults of “Big Pharma”, I can see why peer-reviewed journals would reject these twaddle based claims and upset this author!  (Especially if he presented the sort of drivel written here as evidence)

    When you audit modern medicine at its best in the U.S., the results are anything but laudatory.

    The US is well down on quality, coverage, and life expectancy compared with other OECD countries!  This clown is just making it up!

    The layman has a misconception about people living beyond 70 years these
    days. Most of them think that it is the increased life span due to the
    impact of hi-tech medical science.

    That would be because it is not a misconception!  People take medicines, medical and dental treatments, which fight infections, counter degeneration of organs, and keep them functioning into old age.

    The truth is it is not life span but
    life expectancy, a statistical term used to mislead people.

    Ah!  The TrOOOOoooof as made up by con-men misleading people!

    When infant
    mortality falls drastically and people have food to eat and a job to do
    with clean water to drink, they live longer

    True!  They live longer than the harsh, brutish and short lives of those living in squalor and dying of malnutrition and starvation.

    but the contribution of
    modern medicine in this area is negligible.

    What a load of rubbish!  Antiseptics, vaccinations, antibiotics, and modern surgery, greatly extend lives and the quality of life!

    Richard Dawkins replied, “Because it’s so beautiful — it’s such a
    magnificent thing to live in the universe and to understand the universe
    in which you live, to be a part of life and to understand the life of
    which you are a part, to understand why you were born before you have to
    die… And it’s so sad that people go to their grave without
    understanding why they were born in the first place.” This is the
    scientific arrogance that needs to be put down.

    It looks like a statement of the duluded theist projection of his mirror image, which is the UNSCIENTIFIC ARROGANCE which had its brain put down years ago and can’t see the reality of the universe around him!

    In conclusion, one could easily say science as defined above probably
    knows very little of reality. There are equally good, if not better,
    methods to human wisdom.

    Ha! ha! ha! ha!  Thank you for the A to Z on vacuous assertion and self delusion, professor of quackology!  

    BTW  “Conclusions” come at the END of a reasoning process, which seems to be absent in this article!

    I’ll stick to the scientific knowledge,  He can keep the Whizzdumb!

    Professor B. M. Hegde – (The writer is a former professor of cardiology, Middlesex Medical
    School, London, and former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University.)
    . ,

    Really?????????????????????????????????????????????  If this clown ever had any scientific credentials, he must be too bigoted to take his “modern medicine” dementia treatment at present!  – Unless someone else can offer an alternative explanation for the source of this nonsense!

  17. Just a little further information on the “Professor of Quackology”!  I think this is the right “Medical School”

    http://www.mscm.co.uk/ – If you are thinking about becoming a complementary therapist, the
    Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine in London, UK offers the most
    comprehensive professional training available today. Since its
    foundation in 1992, MSCM has grown from strength to strength, becoming a
    recognised centre of excellence within the field of Complementary
    Therapies.
    Over 6000 professional therapists have trained at the
    Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine…

    So to avoid any confusion with mainstream medicine here is another link:-

    The Middlesex Hospital was a teaching hospital located in the Fitzrovia area of London,
    England. First opened in 1745 on Windmill Street, it was moved in 1757
    to Mortimer Street where it remained until it was finally closed in
    2005. Its staff and services were transferred to various sites within
    the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust.
    The Middlesex Hospital Medical School, with a history dating back to
    1746, merged with the medical school of University College London in
    1987.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M

    There is also more information here:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M

  18. “This is the main reason why many complementary and alternative systems of medicine have been discouraged.”

    Utter bollocks. One of the great things about science is that there’s always someone willing to do the research ( though some might call it wasting their careers ) on even the whackiest ideas. If anything, a lot of ‘fringe’ science is actually less regulated than B.M Hedge argues….which is often a source of complaint about standards. Generally if the fringe element come up with anything….mainstream science WILL look into it, if only for the purpose of disputing dubious findings.

    That is how science works, and how it should work. And it is how one can state that things like homeopathy are complete rubbish. It is also how, despite earlier claims by some scientists that there was something to accupuncture, more recent research has failed to find any substantive evidence beyond possibly a placebo effect.

    If science ‘discourages’ alternative medicines, it is because it has indeed done the research and found the medicines wanting. B.M Hegde can even read the findings in some of the peer reviewed journals he despises.

  19. So I got a reply to my original email (that you can click on the image attached) to Prof. Hegde in less than an hour.

    Dear Shashikiran Sir,Thank you for very mature and wise judgment.In your opinion you are right.People who were not as wise as you are must have selected me as VC. Anyway that is history and a very wise man like you can not change that now. Obviously you have not read any of my many articles and books where I have discussed all that you have been taking about.In fact, I, along with a group of my friends, some of them Nobel Laureates, have started a new group, The World Academy of Authentic Helaing Sciences and a journal, The journal of the science of healing outcomes.They, in their wisdom, had selected me as the editor in chief and my colleague, the co editor is Hans Peter Durr, the Emeritus Director of Max Planck Institute in Muncih and was a colleague of both Einstein and Heisenberg. I hope he knows what physics is even though I don’t.Every criticism is an education. Now that you said that I do not know what science is I shall try and learn at least the basics. I shall start with Against Method by Paul Feyerabend and go on to Deshooling Society by Ivan Illich. For medical science I shall start with Science without sense by Steven Milloy and end with Code named God by Mani Bhoumik.Warm personal regards and gratitude,Yours ever,Bmhegde

  20. Most things are subjective, and have no real answer, and if something does not have an answer, then science cannot answer it for you.

    Science does not have an answer to the capitalism vs communism debate, science cannot tell you how to be happy, science cannot tell you how to live your life.

    If you take enough presumptions or narrow your focus enough you can try and answer any of these questions, but the answer will be as flawed or overly simplistic as the resumptions you use.

    Basically, if it answers a real world question at least some presumptions were probably made and the answer needs to be taken with a grain of salt and old fashioned common sense.

  21. Science does have an answer to the capitalism vs communism debate and we know quite a lot about happiness and how to live a good life.

    Read up on the last 50 years of research in neurology, psychology, etc.

    Oh, and read the moral landscape by Sam Harris who addresses this point very well.

  22. “Why is science being sold as the only route to human wisdom?”

    Because wisdom can only be gained with evidence based reasoning so it is in sync with actual reality.
    What kind of idiot would even ask this…

  23. I think I can count on less than one finger how many people throughout history have been blood sacrificed for science; whereas, for religion, well, who can even begin?

  24. The author forgot to mention that science claims it’s going to win the Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon on Sunday.

  25. The upper castes among the scientists, the Nobels, the big-time grant collectors, the fat CV holders, the FRSs, the sarkari scientists (who were ready to sell the country to private companies), the thought leaders, etc., have built a strong fortress around them that no one will dare differ with their views. Once you get into that club, you could say anything and get away with it. The scientific establishment has found an easy way to keep outsiders at bay and keep its flock together. Its journals have what it calls the peer review system, which is the easiest way to eliminate all dissenting opinions.

    God almighty that is so pathetic! That is so pathetic that it made me reach for my thesaurus to see if there was a better word to describe how pathetic it was.

    Science does not have all the answers. But where there is an answer, science has it. That’s a bold statement but I defy anybody to prove it untrue.

    Even the Aum pendant around your neck is the product of good old science. 

  26. @theogonia31

    So:-  a patronising reply suggesting you read more of his QUACKOLOGY, and he will drop a few names and hints of his “authority” with references more anti-science quackology!  No evidence, scientific references, or reasoning in response to your email.  Just posturing as an “authority”.

    You are wasting you time on quacks like this one.  Why do you think he did not give “the medical school” its full title in his article, or quote any of his “scientific” qualifications?

    –  from my link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M
    In 1953, T.M.A. Pai founded India’s first private medical school, Kasturba Medical College[8] and five years later the Manipal Institute of Technology was formed. Ramdas Pai took over the management in 1979 after the death of TMA Pai. Initially all degrees were awarded by Karnataka University and later Mysore University. From 1980 to 1993 they were awarded by Mangalore University.
    and the current organizational structure was formed in 1993, when
    Manipal University than known as the Manipal Academy of Higher Education
    was accorded deemed university status
    by the University Grants Commission

    What we are looking at is an ex “professor” of quackery at a London “Medical” Quackery College, who has also been appointed VC to a “PRIVATE medical school” in India, (possibly by some business arrangement) – who expects the gullible to credit him with credentials and “authority” in his anti-science tirades on the basis of these private sector jobs!  –

    These rants are  probably in response to science debunking his profitable “alternative quack treatments”!

  27. “Has science lost its heart?”

    It never had one. People expect other people to be kind and acknowledge them. They will get mad at you otherwise. The same is expected about information. Just reread all the emotional slams wrongly thrown at science.  Indifferent, objective information doesn’t wag its tail at you and certainly doesn’t snuggle up with you on the couch. Science is more like the operations of a computer. It is what it is and does what it does without a story attached, but I can give personal meaning to what I do and how I personally view the information. We can do some incredible things with cold, hard, indifferent computers, we have the certainly designed some incredible software to help us create some profound things in the world today.

    People need to learn to accept objective facts and adapt their lives and ability to make meaning around these facts. If beloved stories of stars guiding our lives and future is proven to be untrue, we can still re-frame the concept of stars to twinkling lights like glitter in the sky, or stars revealing the profound vastness of the universe. Science says it like it is. If someone desires to have joy and poetry in their lives, you can still have it when you take off your rose colored glasses and take it upon yourself to come up with a view that is personally fulfilling and meaningful.

  28. @rdfrs-46cac6c2cff8ae3ad0cebf242248b566:disqus 

    “Most things are subjective”
    Is that statement subjective, too? Or is that one of the exceptions to your rule?

  29. Thanks for posting his reply.

    Sarcasm aside, it seems that B. M. Hedge wants to have his cake and eat it too. On the one hand we are to frown upon the Nobels for their fortressed views, but on the other hand we are to stand in awe of the Nobel Laureates in his “group”.

  30.  If science is not conducted properly then it is not science. I highly doubt anyone is attributing supernatural stuff to evolution, may you just think this is what they are doing. If someone is using science to select choosing vanilla or chocolate ice cream, then yes they are going overboard. Reading your comments, you really haven’t elaborated on any of your claims have you?

  31. Than there is no science, human beings in the real world are not capable of perfection and in every little thing there will be some error.

    You highly doubt that anyone in the history of the world has ever believed anything unscientific about evolution, without having god as the reason? Well I assume you I talked to a guy not more then a few months ago who would not believe that a  completely scientific evolution could account for all the variation we see.

    I thought I did elaborate

  32. Does science demonstrate that science has all the answers? Seems like that would require solving the problem of induction.

    Anyway, is mathematics a science? If not, then a huge number of true mathematical statements seem like they are outside of the scope of empirical observation. How about logic? If not, then a huge number of logical truths seem like they are outside the scope of empirical observation.

    Maybe by ‘answers’ you mean something more restricted, though, like “facts about the observable world.” Even here, though, there are potential problems:

    Suppose there are continuous-valued physical parameters (scientific question, don’t think it’s really settled yet, though QM might suggest no, depending on your interpretation.) Then the number of answers to questions about the observable world is at least 2^N0. But the number of observed facts is finite, so the number of statements infer-able with finite operations from empirical observation is at most countable. So there are (uncountably many!) true propositions about the observable world which, even in principle, science will never answer.

    Basically, if there is a priori knowledge, or if there is greater than countably many a posteriori truths, then there are perforce questions with answers inaccessible to science.

  33. I am now convinced that superstition is far superior than logic in navigating through our world.

  34. Science is a means to understand the world by testable, rational means. 
    That definition stands, and unlike the wish-thinking, blinkered outlook of actual religion, it is at least an attempt to point in the right direction.

  35.  “In fact, science, as it is being practised now, is a highly materialistic enterprise.”

    and this article is entirely immaterial.

  36. there are perforce questions with answers inaccessible to science.

    .. … there are perforce questions with answers currently inaccessible to science.

    … Which has little bearing on the laws of science repeatedly confirmed to very high levels of probability in the localities being considered.    Sufficiently high to use in complex engineering! 

    Science usually identifies key areas from these for further investigation.

    There are also many answers currently accessed by science, of which individuals are unaware.

    I’m not sure what relevance this observation has to to confused quackery in the OP, which fails at an utterly basic sub-school-boy level!

  37. In this area, medical science is at its worst. The drug and device
    lobbies have the monopoly for “scientific” publications here. For every
    industry-funded positive study there are, on average, five negative
    studies which do not get published and see the light of day in print for
    thinking people to read and understand.

    Amazing how many masses of  “negative
    studies which do not get published and see the light of day in print” he has seen”

    …or could it be that these “negative studies” are internet asserted unevidenced “alternative crapology” which are the sort of rubbish peer-reviewed journals won’t publish.

    Given his reversed perverse view of scientific methods, those “evil scientists” won’t endorse his quack treatments and keep on debunking them despite his venous protests!

    According to his self published  CV he has numerous high level professional qualifications, which seem incredible in view of the utterly incompetent claims in the OP

    Perhaps someone in medicine can check these out! – 

    http://bmhegde.com/bmh/cv.php

  38. No matter what science gives us and how far it takes us closer to the truth, there will be idiots like Deepak Chopra and B. M. Hegde who will show resistance towards scientific approach and methods. Though they themselves are not fools, the problem is their preachings will end up keeping the masses confused. This becomes a fertile ground for tantriks, swamis, godmen, quacks and pseudosciences to flourish.

  39. @incredulous181

    .. … but on the other hand we are to stand in awe of the Nobel Laureates in his “group”.

    It would appear that “the Nobel Laureates in his group”, were people who tried to teach him things he failed to learn!  

    It seems they are being quoted in the hope that some of their “authority” will rub off to give credibility to his idiotic claims!

  40. If “alternative” medicine works then it becomes part of mainstream medicine.

    The way this character dances around the peripheries of science, I would guess that he’s wearing his jigs hosen.

  41. @ Jumped Up Chimpanzee

    The author forgot to mention that science claims it’s going to win the Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon on Sunday.

    Of course it is!  How else can they confirm if the line calls are correct?

  42. You’ve missed one or two: 
    >The British Army had 100% mortality among the grievously injured soldiers at Scutari in the Crimean War until Florence Nightingale went there. She brought it down to 40% in a month using buckets, soap, bandage, bread and soup alone, there being no medical help at that time as the British did not have any hospital there.

    Er… wrong wrong and wrong? Florence nightingale actually increased the mortality rate at her hospital, that’s what her hygiene campaign later was about, so how could the mortality rate have been 100%?  Especially as the standard pre-medicinal rate was closer to 50% for minor injuries.
    >He also observed his best professor dying of the same puerperal fever after the student’s scalpel cut his finger accidentally. Of course, Ignaz’s colleagues ignored him and killed more and more women. They even admitted him to the mental hospital where he died due to desperation! He died of desperation???

  43. That was so stupid I got a headache just reading it.
    Either a wannabe troll or failure of a hippy, parroting off long defeated rhetoric
    either way, 0/10

  44. Simple, isn’ it? IF the good doctor has such antipathy to science, the he must reject ALL that science has provided him and commit himself to an ascetic life of meditation. Only then can he  reclaim any credibility. 
    Asinine arguments- sheesh!

  45. India has a very long way to go if these assertions are in any way typical

  46. You are welcome. It seems he wasn’t satisfied with his earlier reply, or the fact that I did not reply to his non-answer. So he forwarded me some fan-mail that he got.

    —  rom: Adam David Felton <[email protected]>
    Date: July 6, 2012 2:13:06 PM PDT
    To:[email protected]
    Subject: Article critiquing science: job well done!
    Dr. Hedge, My name is Adam Felton and I’m a graduate student of psychology at the University of California Riverside.  I read your article critiquing science and I agree with every part.  You could’ve probably been even more scathing and it would’ve been justified.  One of my biggest problems is when people exploit a population (e.g., therapy for African child soldiers) for fame/money. Science and science fanatics are pseudo-critical of their profession.  Millenia ago, Socrates said that the unexamined life isn’t worth living.  To me, that shows the same bias as the scientist saying “life without science is not worth living.”  Humans were doing great before science and will survive without it.  (Unfortunately, the destructive culture that created science has destroyed the real knowledge base of humanity via ethnicide.)  There are a lot of people in the world who survive without scientific knowledge as it is. I’m in a rush, but I just wanted to let you know that I support your article and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, it falls on the deaf ears of people who want to somehow harness the prestige of science (by being prestigious scientists and/or intelligent people with knowledge of science).  I’ll leave with a personal anecdote.  I was critiquing science with a lab mate and my summary was that science is generally cool, but we don’t need it.  He said, “But you’re a scientist!” (as we’re both experimental psychologists) – to which I replied, “No I’m not!  I’m a person and I engage in science.” Thanks,  Adam
    — Professor B M Hegde,MD, PhD, FRCP (Lond, Edin, Glasg, & Dublin), FACC, FAMSPadma Bhushan Awardee 2010Cardiologist & Former Vice Chancellor, Manipal University.   

     <[email protected]>

  47. “Science, as it is being practised now, is a highly materialistic enterprise.”
     Like the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, which Professor Higgs has been reported as saying will be of no practical use.
    “Consequently it wants to maintain it’s hegemony and grip on the establishment.”
     I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Here in Britain the majority of MPs and senior civil servants do not have scientific backgrounds. Politicians regard scientific evidence in the light of whether that evidence coincides with their political views. As is shown by the US polititians who reject climate change evidence. If only scientists had a little more influence.

  48.  Yep!  With a bulk delivery of disinformation at the OP & link, some of it has to be left for other people to challenge!  My first post was far too big for the screen!

  49. Subject: Article critiquing science: job well done! …. … …
    Dr. Hedge, My name is Adam Felton and I’m a graduate student of psychology  -… .

    …. He said, “But you’re a scientist!” (as we’re both experimental
    psychologists) – to which I replied, “No I’m not!  I’m a person and I
    engage in science. ” Thanks,  Adam

    .… .. And they were both wrong!  He’s not a scientist.  He’s a cheerleader for ignorance! and a science-duffer student who clearly has negligible capability to engage in science or reasoning! 

    If the university science department has any standards, he is unlikely to ever become a graduate in psychology or any other science without some very basic retraining.

    Critiquing science? – analysis?  Ha! ha! ha!  The comics are turning out in chorus!

    I was critiquing science with a lab mate and my summary was that science is generally cool, but we don’t need it.

    So then he typed his nonsense on a computer which he did not need, and sent it to B M Hegde on an internet system which he does not recognise as needing science to exist! – presumably using electricity which he has magicked out of the ether!
     

  50. Further to my earlier comment:-

      Adam David Felton
    Date: July 6, 2012
    Subject: Article critiquing science: job well done!
    Dr.
    Hedge, My name is Adam Felton and I’m a graduate student of psychology
    at the University of California Riverside.  I read your article
    critiquing science and I agree with every part.  You could’ve probably
    been even more scathing and it would’ve been justified.

    I was wondering what sort of “professor” quotes a graduate course student as a referee or critic of his writings?  Is this the nearest he can get to a real scientist?

    The student’s prospects in “experimental psychology” (or any other scientific experimental work) are not good for someone who applauds the rubbishing of scientific methods as a way of knowing, or poses as a critic reviewing scientific work with a heap of strawman arguments.  “Science is “cool”!!!?!! -does indicate a level of understanding!

    There are students with this sort of attitude and ignorance who somehow get admitted to science courses,  but they often drop out when they fail to turn up for the resit exams.

  51. Does anyone know where they got that quote from Bertrand Russell? Russell was an atheist and a strong supporter of science in general as far as I know. I don’t see him as a supporter of alternative medicine or other types of woo at all. think its extremely unethical to put a quote like that without giving the source. My guess is that it comes from something Russell wrote in the 50’s when he was arguing against nuclear escalation and for nuclear disarmament and scientists such as Teller (aka Dr. Strangelove) were advocating for bigger and better nuclear bombs. That is just a guess and could be completely wrong but in any case an unsourced quote is poor journalism.

  52.  Science does indeed operate under the premise that everything is materialistic and within the scope of human understanding. Why? Because it has proven fruitful.

    The assumption that there’s a logical explanation behind everything and the pursuit of that explanation has led to everything we label as a constituent of “modern society”. Cars, computers, internet, that espresso machine which makes fantastic coffee, coffee, electricity, MEDICINE, fire alarms, crappy techno music and slinky’s.

    And, not only do we have all these fantastic discoveries and inventions, but we have also yet to find a SINGLE phenomenon that do not have a logical, scientific, materialistic explanation. So is the science community arrogant to assume everything has an explanation? Hell no. Prove us wrong, and we’ll throw our theories out the window without hesitation. Just give us a Jesus-looking piece of toast that grants wishes and we’ll happily admit that we were wrong all along.

  53. @Red Dog: I can’t say I know what he’s referring to or even if the quote is accurate, but my interpretation is that Russell is talking about religion and religious scientists. In that sense it’s not at all a weird thing to hear from him, but instead a weird thing to put in an article like this.

  54. I think its important to be a bit rigorous when we talk about how science is and isn’t materialistic. Science is materialistic in the sense that virtually all scientists now believe that all phenomena can be mapped to some physical reality. Probably the most significant and controversial one would be the mind/brain.

    A scientific approach to the mind requires that any theory includes the potential to eventually be mapped to the state of neurons and neuro-transmitters. However, that doesn’t mean that all psychology (and therefor not all science) are about the study of only materialistic phenomenon. Its possible to model things like language in a completely abstract way with no reference to the actual physical implementation. In fact its essential to do so since many of the aspects of language can be described independently of the physical implementation. I can mathematically describe a formal model for a parser and totally abstract away from whether the parser is implemented as neurons in a brain or chips in a computer.

    This distincition is important because in the past there have been scientists who took the extreme form of materialism, people like B.F. Skinner, who said that things like language could only be studied in terms of observable physical behaviors. That approach has been totally discredited and I think its a good idea to not let critics of science assume that such an approach is still in the mainstream.

  55. Do you want to collaborate and write a response to the two emails he sent me? I want to respond but I don’t want to attack him. Just want to address the relevant criticisms and try to get a response that’s addressing the points rather than inane forwards/condescending remarks.

  56. Do you want to collaborate and write a response to the two emails he sent me?

     I don’t think so.  I think he is a waste of time.  He is a dedicated quackologist, who demonstrably is unimpressed by scientific evidence, or reasoning, – hence the tirades against criticisms in peer-reviews, while claiming:-

    @ OP- In conclusion, one could easily say science as defined above probably knows very little of reality. There are equally good, if not better, methods to human wisdom.

    Those with this sort of conviction that their own superior “whizzdumb” is better than scientific methods, will just troll nonsense.  If he was capable of making a coherent case or response, he would have made it in the article.

    It should be obvious that any competent person reviewing writing like this article is going to conclude it is unfit for publication in any respectable scientific journal, and he is then going vehemently dispute the criticism and play the victim of “discrimination”!

      OP –  The upper castes among the scientists, the Nobels, the big-time grant
    collectors, the fat CV holders, the FRSs, … …  have built a strong fortress around them that no one will
    dare differ with their views. Once you get into that club, you could
    say anything and get away with it.

    What he is saying here illustrates his seeking to present his views on quackery as having a badge of high authority. 

    It should be obvious that he has been using claims of “authority”, and is used to being given undue respect for his nonsensical claims out of academic courtesy and regard for professors in general. That is why charletans present themselves as hight status.  This impresses the ignorant, but peers recognise the failings and are unimpressed. – hence his resentment.

    He is projecting this commonly encountered corruption in the third world and commercial quackery, onto opponents who legitimately criticise his views in peer-review journals.  The style is reminiscent of creationist preachers.

    The malpractices of “Big-Pharma” do not justify support for the acceptance of unevidenced “alternative” quackery.  It is a false dichotomy and strawman argument.

    Both are disreputable commercial practices, which have little to do with the science he is disparaging, and a great deal to do with a lack of honest effective regulation in places like India.

  57. Does anyone know where they got that quote from Bertrand Russell?

    Haven’t found anything at all that matches what he said, but several fragments in other contexts, for instance http://www.users.drew.edu/~jle… and http://www.positiveatheism.org…. What becomes clear from those two sources is that, if Russell did indeed say this, he was not referring to myths and dogmas of science, but of scientists who nevertheless still followed myths and dogmas such as religion. The last sentence especially supports this – his beef is with not adhering to the integrity of empirical evidence.

    But yes, at the very least rather shameless quote-mining, if not actually combining portions of several quotes into a combination intended to give entirely the wrong impression. What’s amusing about this is, anyone who knows Russell enough to put weight behind any quote of his, also knows enough not to buy the inferred meaning or context that Hegde is attempting to promote.

  58. The Russell quote appears to be from “A Fresh Look at Empiricism” but Google Books will not show me the page with it on.

  59. Thanks and well done. I’m a fairly competent search engine user and I couldn’t find it. This seems to be a collection of misc. essays. Could you tell which essay it was part of? That would at least give us a better idea of the context. One thing I found in my searches was that at times Russell spoke out about the “tyranny of science” when he was referring to Soviet Russia. Its such a distant memory now that many people forget that at one point Marxism and even Stalinism were considered by some western intellectuals to be “scientific”, I disagree with Popper on a lot of things but one thing I’m eternally grateful for was helping the world to understand that Marx and Freud were pseudo-science.

    Thanks again for finding that. They look like an interesting collection of essays but so far I can’t even find a hard cover in a library and the only ones available for purchase are at insane prices (well over $100). I guess it may be overkill to try and track down the exact context but on the other hand when I did a search for the quote I found page after page of woo articles using it to count Russell as a supporter, these out of context quotes have a way of replicating and it would be nice to be able to refute it.

  60. Thanks for those links. I agree about the myths and dogmas and would add, this is similar to what I said about Marxism in my previous comment, a lot of things that we now consider to be pseudo-science or simply out-dated such as dualism in philosophy of mind were considered to be scientific by many intellectuals in Russell’s time.

  61. If you do contact him I think a very reasonable question would be what the context of the Russell quote is. What was the essay? Can he provide more of the text that came before and after?

  62. Science:
    Person 1: “Two plus two equals five.”
    Person 2: “I think you’ll find that two plus two makes four, not five.”
    Person 1: “Oh, I see. Yes, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks!”

    Religion:

    Person 1: “Two plus two equals five.”Person 2: “I think you’ll find that two plus two makes four, not five.”
    Person 1: “BURN THE HERETIC!!”

  63. Or the new age, moral relativism version: “Thinking that two plus two equals four makes me unhappy so I choose to believe its five. Everyone is free to believe what they want.”

  64.  “Or the new age, moral relativism version: “Thinking that two plus two
    equals four makes me unhappy so I choose to believe its five. Everyone
    is free to believe what they want.”

    It’s MORAL relativism, not mathematical relativism. Not accepting the idea of absolute good and bad does not imply disregarding logic or evidence.

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