Science activists face wrath

Popular science activists and rationalist speakers are found to be targeted on social media with a section of homoeopathy and AYUSH practitioners up in arms against Facebook pages that question the scientific validity of these branches of medicine.

It began with a WhatsApp message, purportedly originated from AYUSH and homoeopathy students’ groups, being circulated on the social media recently. Addressing the students, the message says that misleading campaigns against homoeopathy and AYUSH branches of medicine were found to be run on the social media by certain “allopathy doctors and people fashioning themselves as atheist orators.” “…We are left with only one option: to organise our doctors and students, mass report these social media pages, and close them down.”

The message then lists a number of Facebook pages and profiles, such as EssenseTrivandrum, Kolambiatheistchannel, scientificthinkers2.0, essenseglobal, CAPSULE, Ravichandran, Vaisakhan Thampi etc.

Following this, the Facebook page of CAPSULE or the Campaign Against Pseudoscience Using Law and Ethics, a platform launched by the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad, was found to be taken down for some time.

Science writer and rationalist speaker Vaisakhan Thampi claimed that people like him were only trying to highlight the unscientific nature of medical practices such as homoeopathy. “We are right now facing a global pandemic. Coming up with immunity boosters will give a false sense of security to the people. It could be dangerous as some people may claim that they won’t get infected as they already had consumed the immunity boosters,” Mr. Thampi said.

Attempts to close down the pages can only be seen as the last resort by pseudo-science practitioners who have no answer to the arguments raised above, he added.

M.P. Anil Kumar, functionary of CAPSULE Kerala, said on Tuesday that “spokespersons of pseudo science” were resorting to false claims now. He recalled that when a man from Ernakulam claimed to have developed a medicine to cure AIDS, it was through constant debates and arguments that the hollowness of the claim was established. To eliminate platforms of debate is akin to curtailing the right of people to know, Mr. Anil Kumar added.

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