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The workshop was to be held on 25-26 November, but was objected to because the academic community is convinced that astrology has no scientific basis.

Within academic circles, there’s a consensus that astrology has no scientific basis. It is not based on objectivity, falsifiability, or fact-based research – the pillars of modern scientific study.

That didn’t stop alumni association of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, from planning a workshop on it.

However, after a backlash from multiple bodies, including a section of the alumni, researchers, and present faculty, the workshop, planned for 25-26 November, was cancelled.

Fault in the stars

The workshop was to be convened by Dr M.S. Rameshaiah, member of the IISc Alumni Association executive committee and the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences (ICAS).

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The announcement was accompanied by an invitation, and flyers placed around the Bengaluru campus, with a registration fee of Rs 2,000.

Soon, though, social media was flooded with many alumni wondering what the rationale behind the decision was.

As a step of formal protest, students from the alumni association wrote a letter to IISc director Anurag Kumar, stating: “Astrology is a belief system that has no scientific basis. Scientific experiments done in good faith to test the predictions of the various systems of astrology have all shown that it is only as good as random chance.”

By the afternoon on Saturday, 28 October, Kolkata-based Breakthrough Science Society (BSS), which organised the ‘India March for Science’ rally in August this year, lent its support to the letter, as a part of its efforts to combat the prevalence of pseudo-science in the country. It stated that it stood “in full support of those who have started a signature campaign against the astrology workshop”.

Under pressure from such resistance, the alumni association cancelled the workshop Saturday evening. Its president, M.P. Ravindra, said the intention behind the workshop was not accurately communicated through the invitation, and given the lack of context, the association understood the concerns of those opposing the workshop.

According to Ravindra, the purpose of the event was not to claim astrology as legitimate, fact-based science, but to provide the platform for “a discussion among like-minded people, and to lay the foundation to a campaign against such belief systems”.

A significant number of students and alumni also did not support the backlash against the workshop, arguing in favour of constructive dialogue, curiosity, and openness, saying these were the bedrocks of academic inquiry.


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12 Comments Share Your Views

12 COMMENTS

  1. Holding a meeting for pro and even otherwise should not pose a problem.Settling controversies through debates after arguments is also science.

  2. No experiment is reproducible. My 10th class science teacher told bullshit while responsing to a mythological statement saying about a day of Brahma is equivalent to …..so many years on earth. Now we know what an intelligent statement it was in the light of theory of relativity. It is true that the Astrology has lost its importance, not because it is pseudo science but because it is being told by several pseudo practitioners. In order to discuss whether this is a science or not… Alas? What would have been the best place than IISc. Probability is mathematics..and Certainly quantum mechanics….is the future… even Einstein did not have belief in certain quantum mechanical theories. People used to have the same opinion about the Yoga also. If it is properly practiced, discussed, and presented in journals…. India has yet another field to offer to the world community.

  3. No experiment is reproducible. My 10th class science teacher told bullshit while responsing to a mythological statement saying about a day of Brahma is equivalent to …..so many years on earth. Now we know what an intelligent statement it was in the light of theory of relativity. It is true that the Astrology has lost its importance, not because it is pseudo science but because it is being told by several pseudo practitioners. In order to discuss whether this is a science or not… Alas? What would have been the best place than IISc. Probability is mathemayics..and Certainly quantum mechanics….is the future… even Einstein did not have belief in certain quantum mechanical theories. People used to have the same opinion about the Yoga also. If it properly practiced, discussed, and presented in journals…. India has yet another field to offer to the world community.

  4. Let Astrology remain away from science. If it’s not having scientific base it’s okay. But Astrology unfolds many mysteries
    of human lives with help of placement of planets in an individual’s
    horoscope. It’s miraculous branch of occult knowledge.

  5. let them explain the origin,base,basis,fats and application of astrology,

    and then. …individual shall analyse if he/she agrees up to some extent,if not…..
    tell everybody is no good then probability concept.

    what i mean is…atleast we’ll come up with …a true decision .

  6. Astrology has been around in our country for couple of 1000 years but lost its true source and connections. Unless it is discussed openly, more people getting involved, more research done, more patterns identified, we should not close the doors or be an hinderance to any concept.
    Is Einstein quantum theory or Stephen Hawkings theories still not questionable (which are based on certain assumptions), has anyone seen the Big bang happening with his own eyes. These concepts are still evolving as they are discussed openly and more people getting involved.
    What happened at IISC is corollary to when the first person said that earth is round not flat, and sun is the centre of universe not earth ?
    I guess earth is still flat and appears as centre of our Universe.
    This is the age debiliations and pure & divine science like astrology needs brave hearts to rescue!

  7. Were they afraid?
    If not, this platform should have been given, at least to prove that this is not a science.
    They can talk about what they have in their physical experience.
    It takes just a minute to realise the truth. Let that moment arise.

  8. Complete bull shit. Astrology has a complete scientific basis. Ignorant people simply refuse to believe and debate on it.

  9. Faith, trust and belief are personal in character and they must become essential components for meaningful and holistic living. Complexities of modern life look for solutions in an integrated manner. Human knowledge and experience acquired so far are essential components and they should complement and supplement efforts in this direction instead of encouraging conflicting and contradictory thought processes. Hence i believe astrological analytical studies with assistance from science must receive due recognition and assume its rightful place of importance.

  10. I challenge the sceptics to empirically verify the authenticity of astrology. Show me an accurate natal chart & I can predict the inherent traits of the native close to 90%.

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