“This is palmistry! Numerology, palmistry, astrology, these are sciences! The law cannot ban them.”
-- from the NY Times Article
And if those listed above are sciences, I'll eat my hat! Sadly, disabusing people from the mysticism of Hinduism is going to be as difficult as dealing with christianity or islam, possibly even worse.
Any number of people in the United States still believe astrology is a science.
Yeah, I know. More's the pity.
Doesn't even mention the number of kids who want to go into finance and become another Donald Trump [gag-retch!] and not engineering or science because the math's too hard.
Dabholkar's murder is a reminder of the amazing courage of freethinkers in some places around the world, and the risks they take speaking the truth.
There are challenges in the Western world, and in the US. Those challenges seem minor, compared to what people face in India, the Middle East, and Africa.
This reminds me of two other deaths. One, of a member of Atheist Nexus in India, never solved that I know. Ajita Kamal. ". Ajita is the founder of Nirmuka and was a great champion of freethought in India. He died in an incident in his home town in Tamil Nadu, the details of which are unknown at this moment." also here and here. I could not find evidence that his death - murder? accident? was solved. Sounds like it might have been a violent incident.
Kamal was an evolutionary biologist and was a leader in freethought in India and active in the US as well.
There is also Ismael Mohammed Didi. He lived in the Maldives. He publicly declared his atheism, and not long after was found hung. He was a airport worker and was found hung at the air traffic control tower. There were reports that was a suicide.... which seems kind of convenient, to me. We will probably never know.
I think, some of us in the West stereotype India as a pacifist state. Due to Mahatma Gandhi. I was going to say,I think it is a violent, repressive place where oppressive religions and mass insanity are common. However, it looks like the US is more violent than India. We have 10 times the reported violent crimes. So I'm not in a position to judge. India appears to be slightly less religions, compared to the US.
Still, I am in awe of people who come out of the atheist closet in religious communities and countries. It can cost one their only life.
I live in India. Publicly declaring your atheism can be dangerous here, especially in smaller towns and villages where people are quite vocal about their faith. I haven't come across many examples of atheists being caused harm in major cities, but I am pretty sure that they face a lot of family hostility. I have myself not informed my parents about my atheism as I know they wouldn't take it well. As for pacifism in India, while I think it certainly shows in our Government's policies and one might even say, our foreign policies; the people are not non-violent or pacifist by any stretch of the imagination. There have been many religious riots in the country since independence, mainly Hindu-Muslim. And trust me, Indians are way more religious than Americans. Although there are a good number of atheists, taken as a percentage of the population it is abysmally low. Religion here isn't exactly oppressive (although it might become so in the near future), but you can't escape it.
As for the death of Narendra Dabholkar, it was really sad. The only good thing that came out of it was that the government passed the anti-superstition bill.
Seems like the idiocy and evilness never ends. Despite my sadness and disgust of most of the human race, I still think we will become a rational race some day.
Spud, I wish I had your optimism! I feel that humans will self-destruct.
Mindy, I'm a pessimist about most things, so my view on this may be unusual. But, I don't have any firm convictions on the subject. I think you could be right. My guess is the chance of us self-destructing is about 30%.