I am a US Qualified Registered Microbiologist-Medical Technologist, operating my own Clinical Lab. I have been an activist advocating consumer, civic, citizen's rights for Thirty plus years & a Frequent contributor to the letters to Editor.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Scientists need to be rational for the society's sake

I had heard a lot about the Makara vilakku -the light that floats around mid january at the sabarimalai temple area. The speculations were rife that it is a miracle, manmade phenomenon etc. Considering the enormours economic potential of the event most people would opt for the manmade option.

Today, early morning walk , I went by the Banyan tree with all the snake idols(Nagas) under it.
Worshipped for getting blessed with children for the childless. Usually about a dozen or two flames are lit( cotton wicks soaked in clarified butter-ghee- or oil.

I saw suddenly one flame rise move left hang a second still, return to the original spot, and fell down.
I was sure I witnessed a miracle similar to sabarimalai.
I got closer to the spot.
I saw a rat scurry away.
The explanation was obvious, driven by the smell of ghee, it picked up the burning wick, ran with it. Startled by a passer it stood still, ran back to the original spot, the flame must have burned the critter. It dropped it and ran off. The wick still burning.

At this point, the uphill task of rationalists like Dr Kovoor and Dr H Narasimhaiah against such beliefs at a time when the Scientific adviser to the government of India was a follower of a famous baba, struck me as vitally important. To keep a balance of the crores of minds steeped in blind beliefs counter balanced by a few educated, rational scientists is critical in a nation like India.
It is almost always a one sided battle because religion is driven by numbers!


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