I want to challenge the privilege of religion, superstitions and their authoritarianism: Babu Gogineni

He has been described as India’s Carl Sagan — the person who likes to bust myths with explanation why and good judgment. Meet Babu Gogineni, a “humanist and rationalist”, who has made headlines with his unabashed grievance of religion and spiritual leaders. A non-believer, Gogineni bats for a society which runs on scientific truths and good judgment, moderately than faith. The founder of South Asian Humanist Association, Gogineni has travelled widely the world over, and could also be the manager director of an international humanist motion in London. In a free-wheeling chat with Hyderabad Times, Gogineni speaks about the state of Indian science and era and emphasises at the wish to put good judgment earlier than blind faith. Excerpts:

You name yourself a humanist and rationalist…
A rationalist is somebody who uses explanation why. The application of explanation why to investigate fact, to know how the universe works, to
understand the huge scheme of items. A humanist is somebody who applies humanism to various sides of existence. Humanism is ethical, personal and social and it seeks to offer route to one’s existence. There had been arrogant claims made through folks that India is the leader of the sector, and that the sector should be told from us. This cultural and religious vanity isn't benefitting anyone. In some way, humanism is a contest to the sector’s religions. But humanism will win because it is in line with facts, now not on mythology or assumptions.

But why are you in opposition to faith? Don’t you think other people have a right to apply faith of their choice?
Of route. Though I’m now not devout, I do think other people have a real want for faith and it is their right to carry whatever belief they need to. At the similar time, you even have the right to question faith. But nowadays, instead of appreciating delusion and fables for what they're, other people have change into victims of mythology and are looking to manufacture facts to justify issues which might be unjustifiable.

You imply cases like HRD Minister Satyapal Singh pronouncing that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution does now not exist...? When nationwide leaders make such feedback, what message does it send out to the scientific neighborhood?
It is terribly embarrassing. Evolution is a fact and now not only a idea. It does now not rely at the opinion of a selected particular person. Simply, the fact that you'll be able to rise up, is evidence of evolution. Look around — everything is a results of tens of millions of years of evolution. The drawback is that our leaders make statements without good judgment or facts to fortify them. We have the most important group of workers in era, but what good is it when there is not any innovation going down? There is not any investment for research. Where are the Nobel prizes? Why can’t we produce cutting-edge technological advances or scientific insights?

What do you think is the problem?
What we in reality want is a culture of science. We believe science to be become independent from culture. In fact, we believe science to be adversarial to culture or faith. People generally see science as the other of religion, and there's this false battle occurring between science and faith. All those pastors, pujaris, pandits and imams, who get directly to television to handle their followers — do they now not realise that without science, they can't be on television or use a microphone or travel anyplace? They are misusing the advantages of science to promote a moderately a primitive approach to life.

You have in particular vital of astrologers and godmen. Is there a reason you could have specifically singled them out?
These godmen are all the time making tall claims. Making false, fraudulent claims are very easy whenever you use God or faith as your defend. People are simple and naïve; they tend to believe anything else that’s instructed in the name of religion. Very hardly do they question why somebody is charging them Rs 10,000 for teaching them the way to breathe? Or why they've to pay Rs 50,000 to peer somebody set up a Shiv ling.

Last 12 months, you have been in the information for ‘freeing’ a village at the outskirts of Hyderabad and ridding its citizens from the clutches of a so-called ‘evil ghost’. What used to be that about?
I belong to the 3rd era of a non-religious Telugu agricultural circle of relatives. Being the manager director of International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) in London for the remaining 17 years and a human rights activist, my intellectual, professional and activist paintings has all the time been on the cusp of religion and human rights. In the process my travels to Africa, Asia and America, it changed into increasingly more glaring to me that many of us out of concern or politeness do not address the problem of superstitions. For example, all the way through considered one of my visits to Ghana, Africa, I encountered a case of the police arresting a goat because they suspected it used to be a thief who remodeled himself into the goat to flee arrest. How ridiculous is that! The UN has estimated that the collection of other people affected by superstitions runs into tens of hundreds international. I need to problem the privilege of religion, superstitions and their authoritarianism. So, I took it up as my purpose and I’ve been operating in opposition to it ever since.


But you must believe in ghosts to bust them, right?

Firstly, ghost sightings and being “possessed” are mental well being issues and other people experiencing them should seek professional lend a hand. It is most probably schizophrenia or one thing. I, being a rationalist, look for herbal causes when examining anything else. I will now not look for supernatural causes. All religions, with the exception of Buddhism, have components of magical pondering. So when other people pay attention about incidents of ghost sighting, they don’t probe the causes, instead look for the ghost, devil or whatever and seek to power it away! This is what I bust. I bust myths with rationality and reasoning.


You had been aggressively calling for a society that’s guided through science. Do you think that it is achievable?

I believe science has already won, because everything around us is the result of science. A human is somebody who has a lot of

dignity and has peculiar attainable. Just go searching you, everything has been created and achieved through people thru their minds. It has now not been achieved through any God, mantras, prayers or incantations. Human interests are destroyed the moment you say that God is liable for it. In this nation, we have a existence expectancy of 67 years. But in nations like Japan, it is as prime as 80. That is as a result of the present of science. Science for society, society for science — that are meant to be the motto for us.


I want to challenge the privilege of religion, superstitions and their authoritarianism: Babu Gogineni I want to challenge the privilege of religion, superstitions and their authoritarianism: Babu Gogineni Reviewed by kailash soni on May 15, 2018 Rating: 5
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