This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Saikat Pyne. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Opinion: Why Are Bogus Pseudo Sciences Like Astrology So Appealing?

More from Saikat Pyne

Weeks into the worst pandemic in the modern era, something even more disastrous happened—Indian moms started forcing haldi dudh (turmeric milk) down kids’ throats, huddled masses started chanting Go Corona, while others took shots of cow urine.

For one, if you’re drinking cow piss, you’re pretty desperate. But also, it should at least work doubly better than the vaccine. Unfortunately, it didn’t, leaving a pretty ‘bitter’ aftertaste.

Such worrisome responses on the part of several Indian politicians, self-professed godmen and unwitting citizens has exposed one of the biggest banes of our land over the past millennium—pseudo sciences and scientific illiteracy.

Representational image.

You see, most Indians are never taught how to evaluate science or how to parse the good from the bad. Yet, tech and science dictate our lives and we often bumble our way through them, like analogue folks in a digital world.

Confirmation Over Refutation

Pseudo sciences often emphasise confirmation over refutation, physically impossible claims and terms charged with emotion or false “science-ness”. An army of online influencers, media channels, news websites and dubious practitioners mint millions of dollars every month from such morally dubious practices.

Especially in emerging countries like India, with low literacy and high poverty, where there is money to be made, there is interest abound. These pseudoscience theories are often cute and fun, like puppies, and most of the time they are harmless. Sometimes, however, they get big, mean, aggressive and have to be put down.

Every religion is brimming with such unscientific beliefs—which is why they are also called ‘faiths’. This is exactly why holy scriptures aren’t studied as a part of the science curriculum at IITs, and pastors, priests or Imams don’t deliver lectures on cutting-edge tech like AI and ML.

Please do love and respect your religion and traditions, but also stay abreast with the latest inventions in tech and stay open to changing your mind about long-held beliefs because of it.

For a country so proud of how our religious texts incorporate ‘science’ within them, our regressive anti-science and pseudo-scientific values and fragile egos have cost us lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both religion and science are different tools we use to navigate our lives. We look towards our religious scriptures and their guardians for advice on how to live fulfilling lives and low-key therapy.

You won’t use religion and pseudoscience to treat depression or other illnesses, just as you won’t use a spoon over a shovel to dig a pit.

10 Pseudo-Sciences To Avoid

Representational image. (Source: flickr)

Astrology: It claims astronomical phenomena care about humans (such hubris). Scientific testing of astrology shows no evidence of any of its claims.

Vastu Shastra: An ancient Hindu system of architecture, it’s considered a pseudoscience by astronomers and rationalists like Jayant Narlikar, who writes that Vastu does not have any “logical connection” to the environment.

Acupressure: Similar to acupuncture, acupressure is based on the idea of “life energy” that flows through certain acupuncture points and you can clear “blockages” in these systems with these techniques. Quackwatch says acupressure is a dubious practice and its practitioners use irrational methods.

Aromatherapy: This one uses essential oils and other good smelling stuff, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being. There is no medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent, treat or cure any disease.

Ayurveda: A 5,000-year-old alternative medical practice with roots in ancient India, Ayurveda is based on the belief that imbalance or stress in a person’s “consciousness” is the cause of diseases. As with other traditional knowledge, much of it was lost. The most notable advocate of Ayurveda is Deepak Chopra, who claims that it’s based on dubious quantum mysticism.

Crystal healing: This one believes crystals have healing properties. There is no scientific evidence that crystal healing has any such effect.

Homoeopathy: Homoeopathy claims water can cure you because it once held medicine. Kind of like saying, you can eat off an empty plate because it once held food. No scientific basis for homoeopathic principles has been substantiated.

Toxins: The definition of toxin is different in medical journals, and on Instagram. On Instagram, it’s a mysterious bad thing whose chemical composition is unknown, but if we gulp down an overpriced “health” smoothie, it would lead to magical wealth-loss and clean our chakras.

Naturopathy: A type of alternative medicine based on a belief in vitalism, which holds that a special energy called vital energy or vital force guides bodily processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth and adaptation. This one has been widely criticised for its unproven, disproven and especially dangerous treatments.

Reiki: Yet another form of alternative medicine, reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which is universal energy is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing. Clinical research has not shown reiki to be effective as a treatment for any medical condition.

It’s fine to be unaware initially, it’s not fine to be willfully ignorant perpetually.

Featured image is for representational purposes only.
You must be to comment.

More from Saikat Pyne

Similar Posts

By Mubashar Naik

By Ritwik Trivedi

By Kavya Rajendran

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below