By Dinesh K Sharma
NEW DELHI: Indian-born Nobel laureate scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has rubbished astrology and homeopathy as `bogus’ and harmful.
Delivering the Har Gobind Khorana lecture on ‘On Nobody’s Word: Evidence and Modern Science’ at Panjab University in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Ramakrishnan, who is a structural biologist at Cambridge University and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, blasted homeopathy and astrology as unscientific fields.
Ramakrishnan said the movements of planets have no bearing on human fate. “There is no scientific basis for how the movement of planets and stars can influence our fate. There is no reason for time of birth to influence events years later. ”
He called for the promotion of scientific temper in India because superstitious beliefs, once they take hold, are very difficult to eradicate.
Ramakrishna also debunked the idea that India is the birthplace of homeopathy, adding that its practice originated in Germany.
Ridiculing those who practise homeopathy, the Nobel laureate said, “They take arsenic compounds and dilute it to such an extent that just a molecule is left. It will not make any effect on you. Your tap water has more arsenic. No one in chemistry believes in homeopathy.’’
Ramakrishna, who in the past has attended the annual Indian Science Congress, called the event a “circus.’’
“It was a circus…where very little science is discussed. I will never attend a science congress again…’’
He also poohpoohed the claim made at last year’s Indian Science Congress in Mumbai that ancient India had planes.
“It is impossible that India had plane technology 2000 years ago,’’ he said, adding that science relies on data which others can verify.