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Fight against pseudoscience important
 
Adjust font size:   Close Xinhuanet  2007-07-26
 

A group of well-known Chinese scientists have urged the elimination of Falun Gong and other kinds of pseudoscientific activities in China.

Falun Gong has deceived many people by taking advantage of senior citizens' hopes for improving their health and undereducated people's ignorance, said Lu Yongxiang, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

If the absurd ideas fabricated by Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Gong, are accepted, scientists would not need to develop medical science. And if pseudoscientific assertions, such as that water can be turned into petroleum, which emerged in China several years ago, are accepted, we need not to exploit oilfields, Lu said in contempt.

He suggested that scientific knowledge should be popularized in China, and that the scientific spirit should be better advocated.

"China will witness more rapid development if a large number of the country's 1.2 billion population adopts the scientific spirit and attitudes," said Lu.

He emphasized that chicanery and activities violating scientific ethics should be banned in academic fields in China.

Zou Chenglu, an academician with the Institute of Biophysics under CAS, attributed the Falun Gong phenomenon to the lack of education in science.

"If scientific knowledge is not widely spread among ordinary citizens, and if the scientific spirit cannot take root in the people's hearts, pseudoscientific activities will continue to deceive people, even after the banning of Falun Gong," Zou said.

Chen Jiansheng, an astronomer from CAS's Beijing Observatory, said superstition has all along taken shelter from the universe. Falun Gong preached many things about the universe that cannot be known. Li Hongzhi alleged that he knows when the world will blow up or even can postpone the explosion by 30 years.

"It showed that Li is an ignorant cheater," Chen said, adding that explosions of supernovas have been observed by scientists many times.

"But an explosion of earth is sheer nonsense, for the earth has no nuclear burning process," said Chen.

He added that science, with the major task of exploring the future, progresses constantly. People should not deny science simply because it cannot answer all the problems we are facing now.

Zhu Lilan, minister of science and technology, on Friday said in a statement on behalf of Chinese scientific circles that scientists should shoulder the responsibility for promoting socialist modernization construction, and criticized Falun Gong and its leader Li Hongzhi's ridiculous ideas with large numbers of facts and scientific truths.

Li's ulterior motives of making money and disturbing social stability should be further exposed, said Zhu in the statement.

Scientists are urged to explain the special phenomena of the universe and the human body to the general public and refute pseudosciences.

He Zuoxiu, a theoretical physicist, was gratified by the central government's ban on Falun Gong. He was among the first to criticize of the Falun Gong before it was finally labelled superstitious and a fount of malicious fallacies by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

"Feudal superstition is becoming rampant in China these days, which poses a threat to social stability," said He, a professor at the Institute of Theoretical Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The prohibition will be beneficial to social stability and unity," he said.

On April 19, He published an article in the Youth Scientific and Technological Review, a publication of Tianjin Normal University, which cited the case of a postgraduate student in his institute who developed a mental disorder through practising Falun Gong.

His article annoyed Falun Gong followers. More than 3,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered at the campus of Tianjin Normal University druing the following few days. On April 25, more than 10,000 Falun Gong followers gathered outside Zhongnanhai, the compound housing the headquarters of the Communist Party of China in downtown Beijing, seriously disrupting social order and affecting people's daily lives in this area.

"Li Hongzhi, head of the illegal organization, has held up the banner of 'Truthfulness, Benevolence and Tolerance.' But he lied about his date of birth, and got his followers to create disturbances whenever Falun Gong was criticized," said He.

"Large groups of Falun Gong followers came to my house to argue with me after I raised questions about the fallacies of Falun Gong, and some followers were even encouraged to attack press organizations which publised my criticism of Falun Gong. This cannot be regarded as 'tolerance'," He said.

He Zuoxiu has made notable achievements in particle theory and cosmic theory, and joined the early development of nuclear weapons in China.

The 72-year-old physicist helped to compile the book "Exposing Pseudoscience" three years ago.

He said the newly emerged superstitious activity, under the disguise of science and qigong, advocates and disseminates fallacies. For instance, Falun Gong on the one hand, assaults modern science, and on the other, spreads information via the Internet.

"Our fight against superstition has been feeble in recent years. Personnel in scientific and press circles should think this over and look for the real cause behind the Falun Gong phenomenon," He added.

 

(Xinhua 07/26/99)

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