LUMS has officially responded (Oct 24) to my article of Oct 2 with two assertions, both of which are wrong, needlessly personal, and indicative of the strong anti-science and anti-intellectual currents within that university.
First, it has upheld the claim of the LUMS biology department chairman that reciting or listening to certain holy verses “can control genes and metabolites” and his suggestion that reading such verses could cure terminally ill patients in hospitals.
Modern medicine, by this reasoning, is irrelevant. However, we see that everywhere in the world, including Pakistan, people are living 15-20 years longer. This is not because people are listening more often to Beethoven or reciting prayers but because of antibiotics and vaccines.
LUMS has also defended its famous science-bashing humanities professor who openly ridiculed Albert Einstein and Robert Millikan, both physics Nobel Prize winners, and said I had not given the context of the “philosophical debate”. Let me clarify that there was no debate. I had heard this professor at a lecture where he admitted to knowing no physics but he still fiercely condemned the work of the two great scientists using arguments that were illogical and steeped in ignorance.
Finally, I do not understand how LUMS can deny that it has received USAID funding when its official webpage: http://lums.edu.pk/page.php/lums-at-a-glance acknowledges receipt of $10 million from USAID in 1989. LUMS SSE is, of course, a part of LUMS and hence just as much a beneficiary. There is nothing wrong with this, but one just wishes that LUMS someday recovers its lost sense of balance and ceases its violent assaults against reason and science.
Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy
Published in Dawn, October 27th, 2015