“Science refuses to take root in Muslim countries” Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy

Is the Muslim world more affected by pseudoscience and superstition than any other part of the world?

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Pseudoscience – defined as statements about nature that are spurious and do not pass the test of scientific validity – is to be found everywhere. However, wherever excessive emphasis is placed upon tradition and belief, it becomes more common. For example, I have been to India multiple times and seen how even educated people there can be persuaded to believe in completely nonsensical stuff. In 1995, I saw absolute pandemonium in Delhi as hundreds of thousands of Hindus rushed to their temples after hearing that the elephant god Ganesh had been discovered drinking milk offered by his devotees. Then, after a few days Indian rationalists challenged this and actually demonstrated that it was capillary action which caused the liquid to slowly move up the elephant god’s trunk!

I could give you many more examples from India – and I’m sure you could give me plenty of examples from Italy, of weeping Madonnas – but there’s something different about Pakistan and the Muslim world, in general. Science resolutely refuses to take root in Muslim countries. It’s much harder there to summon forces against pseudoscience. Sadly, charlatans, crooks, and religious people are easily able to mislead people.

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